Across Europe 4.5 million young people are unemployed: It is now more important than ever that we tackle this issue head on

Across Europe 4.5 million young people are unemployed. In the North West the figure stands at 68,000 (that’s 13% of all young people in our region!) unable to find work. It is now more important than ever that we tackle this issue head on.

This week I am proud to have supported a report submitted by the Labour Party, along with S&D comrades across Europe, outlining our plan to support young people into the workplace. The report put to Parliament this week provides a wide ranging framework for getting our young people into work – through strengthened partnerships between educational institutes and local employers, to improving the quality of career guidance in schools.

The report also calls for our government to stand up and take action against exploitation and abuse in the workplace, to recognise the strength of dual learning, and to support and implement the programmes of the EU Youth Employment Initiative – a programme designed specifically to encourage long-term unemployed young people in finding and sustaining work.

I was delighted to see calls for further protections for those young people who already find themselves in employment on zero-hours contracts within this report. Whilst for many young people zero-hours contracts are the only employment they can find, they are a blight on our labour market. The erosion of rights and the financial insecurity associated with them are completely unacceptable; our young people deserve better.

Whilst I fully support this report in the European Parliament, it is critical that the UK government works to ensure that young people have access to the required skills and protections in today’s labour market, boosts jobs, growth and investment and also ensures that there are quality jobs for our young people.