The number of young people out of work has reached its highest level since records began in 1992, with more than one in five young people aged 16 to 24 are not in employment, education or training, says a new report by Office of National Statistics.

The report follows a warning earlier this week from former Cabinet Chief Economist Jonathan Portes who argued that without urgent action, hundreds of thousands of young people face dire career prospects throughout their lives.

The REC believes offering incentives to private sector employers to hire young people is the most effective method of preventing a lost generation and is urging the Government to take immediate action on this issue.

Commenting on the latest figures, Kevin Green, the REC’s Chief Executive said:

“Having nearly one million young people not contributing to our economy is a huge waste of the UK’s potential. The Government has already positioned itself as being pro jobs but we need to move beyond promises to real action now.

“We are reconvening our Youth Employment Taskforce next month for a meeting at the House of Lords so that leading businesses, recruiters and other stakeholders can review progress on the taskforce’s initial recommendations and propose new ways of getting more young people into work.”

He added:

“We will continue to press for the need for bridges to be built between Government, professional recruiters, education providers and employers. This is one of the practical recommendations put forward in the Taskforce’s ‘Avoiding a Lost Generation’ report. Upskilling young people, offering them real experience of the world of work through placements and apprenticeships has never been more crucial.”