The key announcements set out in the autumn statement come against a backdrop of youth unemployment at a 19-year high, rising inflation and continuing job cuts.
The predictions from economic experts and the media make for gloomy reading and suggest that - while 2011 has been tough for young people - 2012 may be even more challenging for those leaving education and looking for work.
This is a critical time for young people and for our economy and the need to act has never been more urgent.
The Youth Contract unveiled by the Deputy Prime Minister last week aims to help 18-to-24-year-olds back into work, partly by incentivising employers to take on the younger generation.
This is a step in the right direction. We know at The Prince's Trust how important it is for employers to give young people apprenticeships and employment opportunities, to help them onto the jobs ladder.
We also know the need for intense, one-to-one support to ensure that young people, especially the most disadvantaged, are ready for the jobs that are out there. We believe that the voluntary sector has a key role to play in delivering this.
At The Prince's Trust we help unemployed young people build their self-esteem and skills, getting them ready for the workplace. The charity works with those further from the jobs - those who have struggled at school, perhaps leaving with no or few qualifications, and the long-term unemployed.
Last year, more than three in four of the young people we helped moved into work, education or training. This year, with the support of partners and donations, we aim to help 50,000 young people through our personal development schemes, through pre-apprenticeship courses in specific industries and through our Enterprise Programme - which helps young people into self-employment. By supporting the younger generation into work, we are not only changing individual lives - we are also helping improve the UK economy.
Our Cost of Exclusion report earlier this year, supported by RBS, revealed that youth unemployment costs the taxpayer around £22 million a week and lost productivity affects the economy to the tune of £133 million per week. Aside from the financial aspect, youth unemployment also has a devastating effect on young people's confidence, relationships and their future ambitions.
There has been much talk in the papers of a 'lost generation'. This does not have to be the case. Young people want to work. They want to make their own way in life and have pride in what they do. It is up to us to equip them with the skills and confidence to fulfil their ambitions and ensure that those who are currently unemployed do not become unemployable.
The measures announced by government should encourage the one million young people currently seeking work. However, we all need to double our efforts to ensure that young people - and most specifically those who are the most disadvantaged - are provided with the support they need to break the cycle of joblessness.
By boosting our young people at this critical time, they will - in turn - boost our economy now and for the future.