Youth Commission report 6 - Unleashing Talent: Levelling up opportunity for young people


The Youth Commission has explored the impact of these inequalities on young people’s life chances. Across five research reports we have demonstrated that we lag other countries on many measures and progress has stalled. Participation in higher education compares more favourably, but fewer young people have basic skills or level 2 or 3 qualifications than other countries and the pandemic has led to a spike in unemployment.

Our research has shown that profound economic and social changes, particularly the collision of advances in technology and lengthening working lives, make a sound platform of skills and flexible opportunities to learn ever more essential. We have heard from young people about what they feel makes a difference, where support is not currently working, and the ideas they have for improvements.

This final report sets out our blueprint for change. It calls for urgent action to tackle the youth employment crisis and a higher ambition for education and employment, benchmarked against the world’s best to build back better.

This will require investment. Our recommendations require an extra £4.6 billion per year, a 22% increase on pre-crisis spending but an investment that will ultimately pay for itself. It also requires a more joined-up approach. We recommend a greater role for local government in building a coherent system, reforms to benefits to improve back-to-work support, a clear focus on the basics of literacy, numeracy and digital, and a new Career Advancement Service to help young people turbocharge their careers.

We need employers to prioritise giving opportunities to young people, their future talent pipeline.