Youth unemployment has increased by 133% in the East of England since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, new figures have revealed (2021, BBC Politics East).

The number of people aged 16-24 claiming unemployment-related benefits rose from 20,580 to 48,020 between March and December 2020 (BBC Politics East).

The biggest percentage leap – at 195% – was in Hertfordshire (Ibid).

Apprenticeships are one route young people can take out of unemployment.

Apprenticeship – The Opportunity

The government allocated £126m in its Budget for the expansion of traineeships in England for the 2021-22 academic year, providing up to 43,000 traineeship placements with the intention to fund high quality work placements and training for 16 to 24 year olds who are not in education, employment or training (ibid). Employers who hire a new apprentice from 1 April to 30 September will receive £3,000 per new hire (ibid). Apprenticeships are popular in the East of England, where 32,300 apprentices started their apprenticeship during the 2019-2020, academic year (ibid). For those who wish to read stories of youth who took the apprenticeship option, see here.

Understanding the Unemployment in the Context of Time

Source: Office of National Statistics

In 2020, the unemployment rate was 4.5% for persons over 16, whereas in 2019 it was 3.8%, 2018 was 4.1%, 2017 was at 4.4% and 2016 was at 4.9%.

Within the last decade and even longer the highest unemployment rate was in the year 2011.

2011 – What was the context for the High Unemployment rate back then?

When HMV closed 60 of their stores in 2011, about 900 people lost their jobs. The UK economy had also contracted by 0.5% in the last quarter of the previous year. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in London in March 2011 against budget cuts that turned violent. On 30th June 2011, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers went on strike across the UK over planned pension changes. The English riots that took place all over England from 8th August, 2011. On 14th September 2011, UK unemployment rose by 80,000 to 2.5 million, the largest increase in nearly 2 years (ONS). On 16th November, 2011 unemployment rose to ore than 2,600,000 (the highest level) since 1994 during September. Sir Mervyn King, governor of Bank of England, warned that the UK was at a great risk from the Eurozone debt crisis. Youth unemployment passed the 1,000,000 mark for the first time since 1986.

The Unemployment rate for Young People between 16 -18 years between 2018 and 2020 has risen significantly.