Soaring youth unemployment, no long-term jobs strategy – time for some joined-up thinking Chancellor

With the latest UCAS figures released today, University Alliance Director, Libby Hackett, is calling for the debate not to lose sight of the bigger issues at stake. Writing on our blog she said:

“The Chancellor faces a huge challenge in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement. One of the critical areas he will need to address is the short-term crisis of soaring youth unemployment whilst at the same time setting out the long-term strategy to keep the UK’s labour market globally competitive. This is crying out for some joined-up thinking.

“Whilst investing in thousands of new apprenticeships and giving direct incentives to employers with one hand, the Government is taking away 10,000 university places available to young people through the University Modernisation Fund. At a time when our global competitors are increasing the number of graduates in the workforce to increase their capacity for economic growth, how can the UK justify a reduction in places available to young people – especially when there are such high levels of youth unemployment?

“The latest UCAS figures suggest a slight drop in applications to university for 2012/13, no doubt as a result of widespread misunderstanding about the new student finance system, however, we must not forget how many young people were turned away last year because there were not enough places for them. Even with the anticipated reduction in applications, there will still be thousands of young people who will be unable to find a place at university this summer and will join the growing number who are unemployed.  This is not good for them and it is certainly not good for the UK economy.

“Urgent action is needed by this Government. The Chancellor has the opportunity to demonstrate some clear, joined up thinking tomorrow in the Autumn statement. Increasing the number of university places available will have a direct impact on youth unemployment whilst increasing the UK’s capacity for economic growth. No-one is suggesting these are easy decisions to make but for the individuals involved and for the future prosperity of the UK, they are critical.”
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Notes to editors:For further information or to speak with Libby Hackett contact Sam Jones on or 07767 673982.

About the Alliance
University Alliance is a group of 23 major, business-engaged universities committed to delivering world-class research and a quality student experience around the UK.
Alliance universities educate over 26% of all UK students and achieve some of the highest graduate-level employment rates. Alliance universities offer a research- informed, academic learning environment and a culture of innovation and enterprise, equipping graduates who will help deliver growth to the UK economy. Our universities maintain a revolving door with business to help ensure graduate employers get innovative and thoughtful, professionally accredited graduates with the right skills to help grow their businesses.

Alliance universities
Aberystwyth University, Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, Cardiff Metropolitan University, De Montfort University, University of Glamorgan, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, Plymouth University, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, Teesside University, University of Wales, Newport, University of the West of England.

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