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Catch22’s Director of Employability responds to today’s employment figures

The Office for National Statistics has today released its estimates of employment, unemployment and economic inactivity statistics for the UK. Victoria Head responds.

13 October 2020

The figures show that, for individuals aged 16-64, the unemployment rate is rising and the employment rate is falling with 153,000 fewer people in employment than in the previous quarter.

Responding to the figures, Catch22’s Director of Employability, Victoria Head, said: 

Today’s numbers reflect the reality of the job market in many sectors traditionally filled by young people – such as hospitality, and creative industries. About 60% of the drop in employment is made of 16-24 year olds – the same age group have also being hit by the lack of schooling and changes to education delivery this year.

With redundancies at the highest level in 10 years, we know this number will increase too.

Government measures such as the Kickstart scheme have the potential to make a difference, but must be designed with long-term careers in mind and not just provide a shelter from Universal Credit.

We must ensure new doors are open for everyone regardless of background, in thriving sectors such as tech, health, and gaming. That means reaching out to those in rural areas and smaller towns, acknowledging that digital poverty is another issue to overcome if we are to level up opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young people.

This might mean upskilling but existing skills are also hugely transferable to future jobs; customer service skills are transferrable to many digital jobs, and the creativity needed in the arts is desperately needed in many other sectors.

At Catch22, we have launched our Kickstart Community programme to ensure employers can support young people farthest from the job market; and today, we launch our partnership with Salesforce to train more young people facing barriers to work to access digital careers.


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