David Miliband highlights voluntary sector's role in tackling youth unemployment

Acevo commission aims to establish partnerships between charities, local authorities and businesses

David Miliband
David Miliband

The voluntary sector has a crucial role to play in addressing youth unemployment and should work more closely with the public and private sectors to tackle the problem, according to a new report from a group chaired by the former foreign secretary, David Miliband.

The Commission on Youth Unemployment, set up by the charity chief executives’ group Acevo, includes Baroness Stedman-Scott, chief executive of the employment charity Tomorrow’s People and Paul Gregg, professor of economic and social policy at the University of Bath.

Its report, Youth Unemployment: the crisis we cannot afford, published today, makes a raft of suggestions about how soaring levels of youth unemployment could be tackled. This includes the establishment of "youth employment partnerships" in areas of high youth unemployment, and says the voluntary sector would have a role to play in these.

"This cannot just be a public sector effort," the report says. "The jobs will come from the private and voluntary sectors as well as the public and, to engage many of the most disadvantaged young people, the involvement of voluntary sector organisations will be crucial – from housing associations to community groups working with disengaged people not in education, employment or training."

Speaking at the launch of the report this morning, Peter Kyle, deputy chief executive of Acevo, said the commission would be approaching charities, local authorities and businesses in areas that had been identified as hotspots for youth unemployment in order to establish some youth employment partnerships.

"We are actively looking at getting groups together in these hotspots," said Kyle. "We shouldn’t ask the government to do this: we have the authority to put solutions together ourselves."

Also at the launch of the report, Miliband, who previously worked for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: "My first job was in the voluntary sector. I’ve had it in my bloodstream since the 1980s that the voluntary sector has the expertise, idealism, values and willingness to take risks. That is essential to tackling problems."

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