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Posted on 16 June 2009 at 0:00 GMT

Press release for immediate use 15th June 2009

Prospect of mass youth unemployment looms

Youth Fight for Jobs organises a protest at Peter Mandelson's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Youth Fight for Jobs is organising a protest outside Peter Mandelson's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET at 10:30am, on Wednesday 17th June.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics are set to show further increases in youth unemployment which is already 16.1% amongst the under 25s.

Mandelson's department is responsible for apprenticeships.

Youth Fight for Jobs is supported by three major trade unions, the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

Sean Figg, national organiser for Youth Fight for Jobs, says "In July 600,000 young people will leave school, college and university expecting to use their new qualifications to find work. With over 850,000 16 to 24 year olds already unemployed most will face disappointment."

"We have to fight to prevent an entire generation being written off. Bank of England advisor David Blanchflower has talked about the 'permanent scars' caused by long-term youth unemployment on young people's mental health, confidence, and reduced earnings and opportunities in later life. Unless the issue of youth unemployment is tackled seriously we are storing up a raft of social problems for decades to come."

"But we have not seen any serious proposals to tackle this from the New Labour government and George Osborne's boast to business leaders that 'after three months in power we will be the most unpopular government since the war' does not bode well. Young people are starting to organise themselves to demand that the politicians listen to us. That's why Youth Fight for Jobs has taken the initiative of organising a fortnight of action from 27th June to 10th July.

Youth Fight for Jobs was launched through a 'March for Jobs' to the G20 meeting in London on 2nd April. Over 600 unemployed youth, young workers, graduates and school leavers marched through four of the poorest boroughs in London before rallying at the G20 meeting.

Unemployment amongst 18-24 year olds stands at 16.1%. This is more than twice the national average and the highest of any age group. This is before hundreds of thousands of school leavers, college leavers and graduates enter the jobs market in the summer.

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