Virtually the whole of Europe faces a crisis of escalating youth unemployment, and Britain is no exception. More than a million under-24s are out of work and not studying or training – over 15% of young people.
The low-skilled comprise the bulk of the unemployed. The OECD reported last week that 19% of 25- to 34-year-olds in the UK who left school at 16 are now unemployed in contrast to 9% in 2000, while for those with degrees the unemployment rate is only 4.7%. It is not being young that makes you unemployed, but being young and unskilled.
A striking exception to the European norm is Germany, with youth unemployment of only 7.5%. The German economy is the strongest in Europe, but Germany also has far fewer unskilled young people because of the success of its apprenticeship system, which embraces most school-leavers who do not go on to higher education.