A study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) claims that a fall in summer work is harming the work experience opportunities available to young people.
The research found that the number of 16 to 17-year-olds in full time education working in the summer has almost halved compared to 20 years ago, and the number of 18 to 24-year-olds working during the summer has fallen by a fifth.
According to the IPPR, in the late 1990s over 40% of 16 to 17-year-olds did some work while studying – for example, in Saturday jobs. Currently, however, just over 20% do so. For 18 to 24-year-olds there has been a decline of seven percentage points in just ten years.
Without work experience, the think tank claims, it is hard for young people to demonstrate the ‘soft skills’ employers are looking for, directly harming job prospects. Immediately after the recession in 2009, 23% of young people with no work experience were unemployed, compared to 14% with that experience.
Carys Roberts, Research Fellow at the IPPR, said: ‘Our analysis shows that young people want to work both in the summer and alongside studying, but often can’t.
‘Government, business, schools and universities need to work together to create opportunities for young people. This should include high-quality work experience at school, apprenticeships with qualifications attached and university-brokered paid internships for their students.’