It is crucial that we don't put the situation down to individual choice and that we take steps to convince young women that their presence is valued and respected particularly in traditionally male areas of work. Talents will go to waste without urgent action and there will be a growing lack of young people with the right skills to fill the increasing number of vacancies in industries such as ICT and engineering.
The latest NEET figures show that one in eight young people are still not in education, employment or training. While there are many reasons for this, often, it can be simple things during the job application process that hold young people back. LifeSkills created with Barclays is a programme that aims to help young people build their employability skills and help them when they are applying for jobs. Below are some of the most common job hunting mistakes we see and tips on how to avoid them:
Former children's minister Tim Loughton said last week that improving educational outcomes is the key to tackling youth unemployment. He's absolutely right, and it is early intervention programmes like ours that can help to ensure the most disadvantaged young children and teenagers are able to achieve their full academic, and personal, potential.
In a time of economic austerity it is hardly surprising that public opinion has turned to those receiving benefits from the state, particularly those who do not work. Repeated stereotyping and manipulation of statistics in the media have painted many of Britain's poorest citizens as lazy good-for-nothings living a life of luxury at our expense.
A new 'youth allowance' should replace existing out of work benefits for 18-24 year olds and provide financial support for young people who need it, conditional on participation in purposeful training or intensive job search. Access to inactive benefits should be closed off for all but a very small minority.
Our society sends out confusing messages about when young people become adults, what level of responsibility they should have for themselves and what role they can play. You can smoke, join the army, leave school (this school year anyway) and have sex at 16, drive at 17 but you have to wait until 18 to drink alcohol in a pub and vote. Then you hit 21 and that still retains some significance.
The latest figures on youth unemployment from the Office for National Statistics - which show the unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds is now more than double that of the wider population, with one in five young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) - paint an extremely worrying picture for today's young people, and those who work with them.
There is a huge gap in government policy when it comes to slightly older NEETs. A sustainable and wide-ranging scheme to employ young people who are no longer 16 or 17 is absolutely essential. Some may argue that these schemes exist - and there are initiatives available to encourage youth employment. The problem comes when small businesses aren't kept in the loop about the schemes.