The monthly announcement of youth unemployment figures has become increasingly grim reading. During this difficult climate, The Prince's Trust is working harder than ever to deliver programmes that help young people change their lives. Today we have taken another step towards improving their prospects by investing in 100 new jobs for unemployed young people, who will help a further 100,000 young people move into work.
The new scheme will see young people, who have faced long-term unemployment and transformed their lives with help from The Prince's Trust, employed as 'Job Ambassadors' to help other jobless youngsters.
They will be trained to go out into their communities - to schools, Job Centres and homeless shelters - to offer inspiration, guidance and advice to help the UK's most disadvantaged young people get their lives on track, ultimately getting them a job.
The Trust has created this scheme in direct response to the record-breaking youth unemployment figures, which are pushing the most disadvantaged young people furthest from the jobs. The initiative is launching in the West Midlands, where Wolverhampton has one of the highest youth unemployment rates. It will then be rolled out across the country, focusing on other unemployment hotspots. With this scheme, The Trust aims to tackle youth unemployment at its roots and break the cycle of joblessness.
The longer young people are out of work, the more difficult it becomes for them to get back into work. With limited jobs, competition becomes increasingly fierce and those who are the most disadvantaged find themselves at the back of the job queue. These are the ones who could very easily become the much prophesised 'lost generation'.
Long-term joblessness can have a devastating effect on a young life. Our recent annual Youth Index report revealed that those not in education, employment or training (NEETs) are significantly less confident about their future job prospects than last year and increasing numbers report feeling down or depressed, anxious and rejected on a regular basis. We know that unemployment has far-reaching implications beyond the financial - negatively impacting on family relationships and physical and emotional wellbeing.
Many of the 50,000 young people we work with every year suffer from self-esteem issues as a result of unemployment and lack of prospects. By overcoming these obstacles and equipping them with the right skills, they can get their lives back on track. Last year, more than three in four young people supported by The Prince's Trust moved into work, education or training.
With the latest youth unemployment figures announced today, it is critical to help young people into work for the future of our economy and society. It needs government, businesses and charities to work together, so every young person, no matter what their background, is provided with the support they need and deserve.
Our new Job Ambassadors initiative will empower young people to inspire and guide their peers, helping other young unemployed people to secure work.
We are calling on businesses and individuals to help us grow the scheme - we aim to reach 300,000 young people over the next three years. This is a chance to invest in the next generation, buck the trend of rising youth unemployment and, ultimately, boost our future economy. Hope is not lost yet and by acting now, the unemployed need not become the unemployable.