More than 140 people including representatives from youth organisations and colleges across London packed the Parliament last night to discuss the destructive implications of youth unemployment on their lives.

The event was organised by the 99% Campaign, a youth-led initiative, run by the international charity IARS, that aims to dispel negative stereotypes of young people, and promote their involvement in decision-making processes and civic life.

The panel included a carefully selected group of cross party MPs, young people and youth organisations. Dr. Theo Gavrielides, IARS Founder and Director, opened the discussion and invited Labour MP Sarah Champion and Conservative MP Tim Loughton to offer their thoughts on tackling youth unemployment. The debate was enlivened by contributions from the new Justice Minister Simon Hughes, who highlighted the importance of work experience and social support at the earliest stages of education.

Young people highlighted the limited opportunities which were available to them, after leaving education, and called for a curriculum that is compatible with the real demands of the job market. This view was supported by young panelist, Farida, who told her personal story of leaving school at the age of 16, with little skills and support, to equip her for the future. Key discussion topics also included limited success of apprenticeship schemes for young people living in the UK and the absence of school support to gain future employment.

Labour MP, Sarah Champion said: “In Britain today, over a million young people are still unemployed.  We need to act urgently to change this, or we will be faced with a generational problem that manifests itself well into the future.  Our young people are our future business leaders, engineers, and scientists so it great to see initiatives like the 99% Campaign champion the voice of young people and provides them with the much needed space to express their views on issues that really matter to them. I am supporting this event because I strongly believe we must act now to help them get the skills and experience to develop the career they deserve.”

Theo Gavrielides IARS Founder and Director said “The Young and Unemployed event at Parliament marked an important time when new policies for tackling youth employment are being proposed in party manifestos. The enormous turn out is just the proof that young people need space to address the issues that affect them. The 99% Campaign is committed to give a voice to young people to define and address their issues to policy makers. Thank you to everyone who attended please keep supporting us to achieve change from the ground”.

Conservative MP Tim Loughton said:The high levels of our young people without a job or lacking good education and training opportunities remains one of the greatest challenges facing our economy despite the progress that has been made recently. But it also brings many social challenges. This is why the 99% percent campaign event and its work are so important in bringing together young people with politicians and key youth organisations who can help find practical solutions with the potential to make a real difference.”

This event marks the ongoing work of the 99% Campaign to empower youth in the UK. As a nationwide digital participation project, it aims to dispel negative stereotypes of young people, and promote their involvement in decision-making processes and civic life. The project has given hundreds of young people a chance to present their own experiences and concerns to key public figures via its multimedia platform. It is supported by the Nominet Trust and individual donations.

99% Campaign team member, Tyler Kloos said: “Being a part of the 99% campaign has not only opened up my viewpoints regarding pressing youth issues, but it has also allowed me to be involved in something I thought I’d never get the chance to - attend an exciting discussion at the House of Parliament!”

Notes to Editors

Contact: Ayesha Carmouche – 99% Campaigns Coordinator and Communications Officer |A.Carmouche@iars.org.uk |02078200945| 07833224442 |

About IARS

IARS is a UK-based leading, international think-tank with a charitable mission to give everyone a chance to forge a safer, fairer and more inclusive society. IARS achieves its charitable aims by producing evidence-based solutions to current social problems, sharing best practice and by supporting young people and the community to shape decision-making. IARS is an international expert in criminal justice, restorative justice, human rights and inclusion citizenship, public service and user-led research. To find out more about IARS go to: www.iars.org.uk

About the 99% Campaign

The 99% Campaign is a youth-led initiative that aims to dispel negative stereotypes of young people, and promote their involvement in decision-making processes and civic life. The campaign is hosted by Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS), an independent think-tank with a charitable mission to give everyone a chance to forge a safer, fairer and more inclusive society.

Get involved

contact@iars.org.uk | 020 7820 0945 | 07833224442

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