TUC 2012: Youth unemployment is a blight on society. For one in five young people aged 16-24 who are not in full-time education to be unemployed is a shocking waste of talent.
Young people without educational qualifications or with only a few are four times more likely to be out of work than those with degrees.
This situation is made worse because graduates - research suggests as many as one in three - are now having to take jobs they are "overqualified" for, pushing less qualified young people out of the labour market.
In other words, youth unemployment and underemployment is now becoming a generational problem affecting young people who had previously considered themselves to be in the "middle" of society, not just those from poor and deprived backgrounds.
We still need to increase educational opportunities however, rather than limit them in the way Michael Gove wants to do.
In particular we need to restore the education maintenance allowance and scrap tuition fees.
Apprenticeships can provide a bridge between education and the workplace for many young people, but the government continues to fall short of its target of 250,000 places by 2015.
Apprenticeships are often low quality, low skilled, of limited duration or based with private training providers or colleges rather than in workplaces.
It's also the case that some employers are turning existing staff into "apprentices" in order to claim government subsidies.
We need many more high-quality workplace-based apprenticeships, all of them paying at least the minimum wage and which lead to guaranteed employment on completion. The welfare and benefits model which requires any recipient of benefits to work without a wage should also be stopped.
We also need to ensure that internships for young people should pay at least the minimum wage and there should be a code of practice to reflect equal opportunities guidelines.
Most of all, however, we need an alternative plan for the economy centred on increased public spending - and including specific measures to help young people who are still twice as likely to be unemployed as most adults.
The National Union of Teachers 2012 conference passed a motion recognising the destructive effect of youth unemployment.
It will continue to campaign for this within the TUC and labour movement.
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