Recently released figures showing graduate employment to be at its highest level in over a decade have prompted the National Union of Students (NUS) to call on the government to reinstate the Future Jobs Funds.
The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, reveal that the unemployment rate for new graduates was 20% in the third quarter of 2010. Almost one fifth of recent graduates looking for work were unable to find any.
The rate has almost doubled since the beginning of the recession when new graduate unemployment was just 10.6%.
NUS President, Aaron Porter, said: “These new figures show that graduates are encountering an exceptionally hostile jobs market and the government persists with policies that put the burden of the country’s debt on the young.”
He continued: “Following the disappointing growth figures earlier this week, NUS calls on the Government for renewed targeted investment in education and the reinstatement of the Future Jobs Fund to support graduates into employment.”
In a national demonstration on 29th January, the NUS joined with the University and College Union (UCU) for a march and rally to protest against government cuts in access to education and the impact this will have on young people.
Commenting before the demonstration for ‘A Future that Works’, Mr Porter said: “NUS is joining with other unions to protest in Manchester this Saturday and bring attention to the wide range of government cuts which will hit the youngest and most vulnerable in society the hardest.”
The NUS website for the campaign calls the cuts, which include the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), “vicious and unnecessary”. It urges students and unions to remain united after the Opposition Motion, demanding a government rethink of scrapping EMA in England, was defeated.
The rally was expected to be attended by 6,000 to 8,000 demonstrators.
Speakers from UCU, Unite, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and National Union of Teachers (NUT), as well as Aaron Porter from the NUS, addressed the crowd.
When asked why the national demonstration was planned for Manchester, the NUS explained that the city has both the largest further education college (Manchester College) and higher education institution (University of Manchester) in the country. It is also located in the region with the highest rate of youth unemployment in the UK.
And during the recent recession unemployment rates have increased although having a degree reduces the likelihood of unemployment, the Office for National Statistics reports. Whilst unemployment for non-graduates aged 21-24 stood at 14.6% in the third quarter of 2010, unemployment for graduates of the same age was 3% lower.
But since the start of the recession the unemployment rate has increased more for those with a degree.