Dear Chancellor Rishi Sunak

We live in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to make drastic changes to our lives, but no generation has faced as much upheaval and uncertainty as the class of 2020.

Young people leaving school, college or university this summer face the toughest job market in living memory with estimates suggesting 1 million young people will be out of work by the end of the year. Being out of work when you are young affects your long-term employability and earnings: if we fail the class of 2020 today, they will bear the burden for the rest of their lives.

Politicians, employers, charities and coalitions are sounding the alarm. We support any measures targeted at supporting young people and the Prime Minister’s recent commitment to a Opportunity Guarantee. But time is ticking away and young people are leaving schools, colleges and universities now.

We urge you to put young people at the centre of your economic recovery plan and call on the government to:

  • Create a Minister for Youth Employment, based in the DWP but working across Government and with Devolved leaders and employers to lead a national effort around jobs for young people
  • Ensure the Youth Opportunity Guarantee goes beyond apprenticeships and includes a guaranteed 6 month paid work placement, subsidised by Government, with real jobs and training opportunities from employers
  • Reform the Apprenticeship Levy so that funding is targeted at creating opportunities for 18-25 year olds
  • Launch a National Database of Opportunities listing apprenticeships, local employment support, virtual work experience, internships or mentoring support. Listed by postcode this will help identify areas in need of most support.
  • Fund free local bus travel for under 25s to open up opportunities to work or volunteer
  • Bring employers, charities and broadband providers together to ensure disadvantaged young people, from all corners of the UK, can access the tech and equipment needed to benefit from online opportunities.

Without your support, the class of 2020 will be permanently scarred as Generation Covid. Please put young people at the heart of your economic recovery plans.