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Three months after official Government figures showed that one in five of 16 to 24-year-olds were out of work, latest figures show a worryingly high amount of young people are still searching for work.

During a recession there are bound to be rises in unemployment as recruitment freezes take hold across all sectors – but leaving future generations out in the cold has long-term consequences. You cannot underestimate young people’s value to the economy.

With over a million 16 to 24-year-olds classed as Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs) Government announcements, via the Queen’s speech, to tackle rising youth unemployment through investment in skills, training and increasing opportunities in the job market are welcome – but developing their enterprise spirit is also vital.

As the UK’s leading enterprise education charity we know that engaging business with education gives young people the drive and ambition to succeed. In this way we can create a generation of enterprising young people ready to face the challenges of a rapidly changing marketplace.

We are currently in Global Enterprise Week and the UK is leading the way with thousands of success stories that will inspire young people to develop the skills and attitudes to make their ideas happen.

Our range of programmes see more than 300,000 young people aged 4-25 take part each year, bringing business volunteers into the classroom to pass on their enterprise skills, behaviours and attitudes to the next generation – inspiring, challenging and empowering young people to have the confidence and the ability to turn their ideas into action.

The future of this country, particularly its competitiveness in the global economy, relies on our ability to develop enterprising young people. Business and education must work together to ensure that young people benefit from what we have learned, build on our successes and face the challenges ahead.

There are thousands of young entrepreneurs out there with talent to be nurtured and inspired that long term will help the UK economy emerge from the current recession with robust, solid and with a future brighter than ever.


John May, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise, the UK’s leading education enterprise charity

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