Young people now “face unprecedented challenges in finding jobs”

A Huge Problem?

In the first quarter of 2020, Coronavirus has spread throughout the world at an alarming rate, catching world leaders off-guard and enacting a phenomenal cost in terms of human lives and livelihoods, particularly for young people and jobs.


Our research of recent studies found:


  • One third of 18-24 year-olds have lost work in the UK due to furloughing or job loss
  • The rate of youth claiming unemployment benefits is 5% compared to the national average of 4.7%
  • There is a cohort of unemployed youth called the “hidden unemployed” which may inflate the figures to around 60% higher than official data suggests


These figures represent huge numbers of young people who now face unprecedented challenges in obtaining sustainable employment. This is alarming because being unemployed when young can cause “pay scarring” with damaging effects on mental health, lower pay levels and reduced confidence. An employer may also view periods of economic inactivity as a negative trait on a CV, perceiving the candidate to be unmotivated or lacking in productivity.

But how can this problem be addressed?


We decided to take a look at all of the opportunities that currently exist across the country, to help young people aged 16-24 find access to sustainable employment, which includes apprenticeships and further education centres. We then compared this to the levels of youth-unemployment, and were able to deduce which areas lacked support where they most need it.


The areas where the highest levels of youth-unemployment overlap with the fewest number of opportunities are:

  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Enfield
  • Barking & Dagenham
  • Thanet
  • Kingston-upon Hull

Our research shows that the government and local providers need to act quickly to support these highly affected – low opportunity areas, to provide more opportunities and help avoid the negative effects of pay scarring. Others who support this claim are:


Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute

“…we need to act now to prevent permanent damage to our economy: investing in young people; mobilising back-to-work support; and making sure we help those left behind before the crisis.”


David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges

“Urgent action is needed to support young people leaving education this summer as they face unprecedented challenges in finding jobs and to help those being made redundant. Colleges will be central to the training, skills and education offer that will help people improve their skills and job prospects. They will also work with employers to help them get the skilled people they need to stay in business.”


Andrew Ratcliffe, CEO of Social Mobility Charity Impetus

“…being out of work when you’re young means you will earn less and work less over your whole career. Government needs to work with businesses, the voluntary sector and others to support and invest in young people to keep them earning and learning through the crisis and beyond.”

The UK Youth Unemployment Maps


Global MapAid are a team of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds who, with the help of the general public, have made two maps related to Covid-19 in the UK: the Cases Map, which charts the number of cases and deaths of Covid-19 in hospitals across the UK, and the “Great Big UK Hope Map”, which displays positives efforts made by charities, organisations, and local groups to respond to the challenges communities are facing. Now, we are looking more than ever at the challenges ahead of us, and one significant issue that presents a particularly growing challenge in the coming months and years will be youth unemployment levels.


The IFS estimates that employees under the age of 25 were “about two and a half times as likely to work in a sector that is now shut down” compared to other employees. Youth unemployment has been a significant concern affecting young people across the UK, but the effects of COVID-19 will amplify this issue to new heights. With this in mind, we have created three maps looking at youth unemployment –


Our maps seek to achieve two goals –


  1. Advertise the locations of Further Education Centres directly to young people, allowing them (you?) to immediately see the range of opportunities available locally
  2. Display the areas of highest youth unemployment, the areas of the lowest youth opportunities in the form of Further Education colleges, and where these areas overlap, in order to draw focus to the areas where the most attention and support is needed.

We Ask You to Partner with us and “Act Local, Think Global”


Further Education colleges, which offer vocational educational and training, should lead to sustainable job prospects for the young people who complete these courses. But for this to be a possibility, young people need to be able to easily access and compare the opportunities available to them. We have done our best to compile a full list of FE opportunities using multiple Government sources, but if you work for a Further Education college which has been missed off our map please contact us at info@globalmapaid,org or fill out the survey here.


Despite most young people being relatively low risk for a severe reaction to Covid-19, they are most likely to be affected by its effects in terms of employment in the coming months and well into the future. If you know or work with young people in need of sustainable employment, please do share this map to enable them to view the range of opportunities on offer and so increase their chance of gaining meaningful employment.


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