The YMCA’s recent report 'Breaking Barriers To Work' highlights challenges faced by young people both in finding and keeping employment, particularly those living in supported accommodation. We commend the report and share in the YMCA’s belief that every young person has the potential to succeed, and that they need a safe and supportive environment in which to develop their skills and confidence.
The report emphasises the importance of providing young people with fair opportunities and identifies several barriers to work including financial disincentive, lack of access to affordable housing, training and employment opportunities, and the stigma associated with claiming benefits.
Key Recommendations from the report:
- Young people in supported accommodation face financial penalties when moving into employment as wages often don’t meet the cost of living. The YMCA is calling for an ‘Essentials Guarantee’ so that benefits always meet people's needs, including basics such as food, utilities and household goods. The report recommends that the standard allowance of Universal Credit should always meet this level.
- The report findings highlight the stigma associated with claiming benefits and makes practical recommendations to reform the benefits system, such as simplifying PIP applications and reforming the assessment process, in order to help reduce barriers for young people to claim the support they’re entitled to.
- An additional Universal Credit payment for young people under 25 who are living independently without family support would help to bring their standard allowance up to match the over 25s rate, providing young people with the financial support needed to cover costs, and potentially reduce the financial barriers to entering employment.
The Foyer Federation is committed to supporting young people achieve their goals and we stand behind the YMCA's recommendations to policymakers to make it easier for young people to get into the workforce. Find out more about our Advantaged Thinking philosophy, plus the Moving On Up grants and Talent Bonds that offer support for young people to build a brighter future for themselves.