Sort by
Sort by

Report shows small jobs make a big difference - but young people in the UK struggle to find them

Back to Press releases

Young people in the UK are lagging behind their international counterparts when it comes to getting the experience needed to find work, according to a report published today. 

Calling on business, education and government to do more to give young people opportunities to ‘earn and learn’, the report notes that across Europe only the UK saw a fall in the number of young people combining work with learning in the years leading to recession.

‘Precarious Futures? Youth employment in an international context’, published today by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), also shows that countries with high numbers of young people who work while studying have lower levels of youth unemployment as a result.

Fiona Kendrick, CEO and Chairman of Nestlé UK and Ireland and a UKCES Commissioner, said: “Employers have a key role and responsibility in offering apprenticeships, work experience and part-time jobs that can be combined with education.

As a business, we have been very focused on playing our part in helping raise the profile of our industry and in November last year, we launched the Nestlé Youth Employment Initiative which will create 1,900 employment opportunities in the UK for young people over the next three years. Helping young people from all backgrounds move from school to the world of work, should be an absolute priority for us all in helping our future workforce achieve their potential."

In Australia just under half (44%) of 15 to 19 year olds in education are on apprenticeships or have part-time jobs.  Later on, just 12% of their 20 to 24 year olds are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

By contrast, in the UK just 22% of young people aged 15 to 19 are earning and learning  - that is, combining part-time work with full-time education, or taking on an apprenticeship - and nearly one in five (19%) 20 to 24 year olds are categorised as NEET.

The report also shows that the UK’s youth unemployment rate is more than three times higher than the adult rate. This ratio is much higher than in most other European countries and has been increasing for the last 25 years.

“With the UK’s economy moving towards sustained recovery it is vital that we take the opportunity now to break down the deep-rooted barriers which prevent young people from getting into work,” said the Minister of State for Employment, Esther McVey MP.

“Collaboration between business and education is fundamental for success here. Strong relationships are needed here to ensure we are forging stronger futures for our young people.”

To view the report in full, visit

For previous UKCES publications on youth employment visit