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NUS' Commission on ‘New Deal for Work’ begins with an assembly of experts in the House of Commons

Thursday 1 May 2014

The Commission on the Future of Work begins as a range of experts assemble in the House of Commons, chaired by Toni Pearce.

NUS research on young people’s attitudes to the employment landscape reveals that little more than a quarter (28 per cent) of young people are optimistic about the job market.

Among the most popular policy ideas among young people to improve the job market were travel discounts (85%), increasing the minimum wage to the Living Wage (78%), job placements available on courses (77%), increasing apprentice pay to the minimum wage level (75%), and a government funded paid internship scheme (74%).

The Commission follows last month’s NUS work summit where keynote speaker Rt Hon Vince Cable spoke to a delegation comprising of the private, public and non-profit sectors, taking the first steps to a collaborative approach in tackling key youth employment issues.

As the next step, The Commission, chaired by NUS President Toni Pearce, now assembles a wide range of experts to consider both written evidence and oral evidence during hearings to be held in the House of Commons on Monday 19 May and Monday 2 June. The submissions will then form the basis of a report, co-authored by NUS and The Work Foundation, to be launched in the autumn, containing official recommendations to government, employers and student unions.

The commissioners including former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee Professor David Blanchflower, extends to representatives from the UK Commission on Employment and Skills (UKCES), the TUC, British Chambers of Commerce and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Toni Pearce, NUS President said:

“While previous generations looked on the employment landscape as a land of opportunity, the next generation increasingly looks on as an abyss. It should be a wake up call to politicians and employers that just a quarter of young people are optimistic about the jobs market.”

“We are really excited to be bringing together such a fantastic breadth of commissioners to consider the action we can take together to improve the prospects of the next generation. Young people are crying out for a new deal for work and our commission will lay the foundations for us to make it a reality."

David Blanchflower, Economics Professor at Dartmouth College said:

“We need an entirely new approach to tackle youth unemployment, which is why I’m looking forward to developing key recommendations as part of NUS’ new Commission on the Future of Work together with business, trade union and youth sector representatives.”

“The much publicised recent fall in unemployment figures belies the stark reality faced by young workers across the UK, as more than 250,000 young people have been unemployed for longer than 12 months."

“Youth unemployment in the UK remains a national crisis, and we need serious action if we are to avoid a generation of young people being left to languish with extremely limited opportunities.”

Paul Nowak, Deputy General Secretary, TUC, said:

“After being asked to pay huge amounts of money for their education many young people are also facing a very tough time in the jobs market – struggling to find work at all or being asked to work for free as interns or on insecure, zero-hours style contracts with poor rates of pay."

“At the same time lots have huge student debts, making it hard to afford the cost of spiralling rents, let alone the down payment on a mortgage or saving for a pension. I look forward to working with the other commissioners to try to shape the future of work in a way that understands the many pressures our young people are under.”

If you are interested in getting involved with the Commission, you can find out more here.