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Lack of affordable transport limits young people’s access to employment, education and training

Rising transport costs are making it difficult for thousands of young people to participate in education and training, leaving many unable to enter or stay in work, according to a new report from The Work Foundation. This is particularly the case for young people living in rural areas who find it harder to stay in work due to inadequate public transport routes from their homes. The report, published today (14 December), calls on the government to implement policies that will reduce the transport barriers which exacerbate the youth unemployment crisis.

Figures show that transport costs have made it difficult for one in five young people to participate in education and training, with many unable to gain or maintain employment. The situation is even worse for young people living in rural areas who face further obstacles to finding jobs close enough for an affordable or accessible commute.

Transport Barriers to Youth Employment shows how young people in work are generally in low-paid sectors such as sales and customer services. This means many will struggle to afford next months further increases in transport costs. The report reveals how transport barriers are especially problematic for those in part-time or temporary work, those living or working in remote locations and those who have to travel long distances.

Katy Jones, lead report author and researcher at The Work Foundation said: “Nearly one million young people are unemployed and for many lack of affordable transport is a key barrier to finding work. Yet central government policy does little to address this. The government should guarantee concessionary fares for young, long-term unemployed people. To keep support in line with participation in education and training, it should also extend transport assistance up until the age of 18, in line with planned increases in the participation age.”

Co-author Neil Lee added: “Local authorities also have an important role to play. They need to ensure young people are adequately consulted on the planning and provision of local transport services. Local authorities should provide stable, long-term support for community and personal transport schemes (such as the widely endorsed Wheels 2 Work schemes). In addition, information services such as Traveline need to be better advertised, accessible and accurate.

“We are also calling on Work Programme providers to take action and ensure transport obstacles faced by young people are individually identified and addressed within the scheme.”

The report is the third from The Work Foundation’s Missing Million programme, a two-year solutions-focused project aimed at increasing the employment prospects of young people in the UK.

Notes to editors

1. Transport barriers to youth employment by Katy Jones and Neil Lee is available from the press team in advance or available for download here.
2. Katy Jones and Dr Neil Lee, head of the Socio-economic Centre at The Work Foundation are available for interviews, briefings and written comment.
3. The Missing Million programme is sponsored by Barclays, The Learning and Skills Improvement Service, Private Equity Foundation and the Trust for London. Views expressed in the report do not necessarily represent the views of sponsors.
4. Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 140,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.
5. The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is the sector-led body formed to accelerate quality improvement, increase participation and raise standards and achievement in the Further Education and Skills sector in England. LSIS is responsible for developing and providing resources that help colleges and providers implement initiatives and improve quality. This is achieved by commissioning products and services, identifying and sharing good practice throughout the system and providing tailored programmes of support.
6. Private Equity Foundation (PEF) was set up in 2006 to unlock the potential of young people with limited life chances. Its focus is primarily on the NEET issue. There’s no silver bullet so PEF supports children and young people from age four to 24, at home, through school and into the workplace. It provides the very best youth interventions, with funding and pro bono business expertise to help them improve effectiveness and grow. To date, it has changed 60,000 young lives through 19 charities.
7. Trust for London is the largest independent funder of projects tackling poverty and inequality in the capital. The Trust makes grants totalling around £7 million per year, supporting around 400 voluntary and community organisations in London at any one time. It was set up in 1891 and was formerly known as City Parochial Foundation. Charity registration number: 205629.
8. The Work Foundation aims to be the leading independent, international authority on work and its future. The Work Foundation is part of Lancaster University – an alliance that enables both organisations to further enhance their impact.

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