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Youth Unemployment: Review of Training for Young People with Low Qualifications

Young people with low or no qualifications make up 39% of all young people unemployed and not in education, and 47% of those inactive and outside learning, despite only accounting for a quarter of the youth population. This is not solely a consequence of the recession. Even before the recession began, across the OECD, young people with low or no skills were three times more likely to be unemployed than those with higher skills

The level of qualification is a good predictor of labour market success – those with higher qualifications are more likely to be employed, and earn more, than those with lower qualifications. For these reasons, active labour market policies for young people have historically and internationally tended to have a strong focus on training (often alongside employment subsidies, work experience and support with looking for work). However successive evaluations have tended to find mixed results for training programmes.

This paper seeks to revisit that evidence base; in order to draw conclusions on what lessons can be learned for the design of training programmes for young people aged 19 to 24 who are unemployed, not in learning and have low or no qualifications. Where possible we have sought to focus on evidence from programmes targeted at young people that meet these criteria but have indicated where evidence is from research with a broader or different focus.