The stories and faces of young unemployment

  • Published

A record number of young people are out of work, according to new figures published on Wednesday.

Overall unemployment jumped by 44,000 in the final three months of 2010 to just under 2.5 million, a jobless rate of 7.9%.

But one in five 16-24 year olds is now unemployed, following a 66,000 increase to 965,000, the highest number since records began in 1992.

The government says it is very concerned by the figures.

BBC News has spoken to some young people who are currently receiving Jobseeker's Allowance, about their experiences looking for work.

Aaron Alexander Galway, 25, Hounslow

"You don't get treated like a person. On the New Deal, you choose from a list of work you might like to do - administration, security, plumbing - but when you go on a course they just sit you down at a computer, and help you do a CV and your letters.

They don't train you at all. It's no good, when you've been promised that you're going to be taught something.

I have been unemployed for two years. I try to do some photography work when I have free time, but you need to do paid work to maintain your equipment.

The idea of volunteering in the current climate just won't work. Maybe if there was a small wage on the side it could, but people need money."

Beccie Stevenson, 24, Coventry

Beccie moved back to the family home from London last year. She used to work in marketing and PR, but has been unable to find a new job. She has had some interviews, but is having to claim Jobseeker's Allowance.

"To me it feels like they are trying to get the statistics down. If you are pushed into a job that you have no connection to, after going all through your university education - it's just frustrating.

You can't spend time pursuing what you really want to do. The one size fits all approach just isn't appropriate."

Ben Gillett, 24, Swindon

"I've been out of work since November 2008. I have done odd days and even tried door to door sales, but that didn't work out.

Even to be a labourer on a building site you need experience, and a special ID card for health and safety. How can you get experience when you can't get any jobs?

I've had work placements through the Job Centre, but there is no work at the end of them.

It's really destroyed my morale. Sometimes it's hard to get out of bed in the morning. The thing the figures don't show is how utterly soul-crushing it is being unemployed."