Youth Unemployment

In a recent survey of Doorstep Sport participants, youth unemployment was identified as the major concern for young people today.  

The youth unemployment rate in England and Wales now stands at 20.8 per cent, compared to just 5.5 per cent for 25 to 64-year-olds. Across the country, two in five young people are unemployed or underemployed, but in the worst affected areas this can rise to as much as half of all young people in the area.

The true scale of youth employment is hidden because headline figures focus on the unemployed and not young people who are only working part-time hours or are over-qualified for their current job. So while youth unemployment appears to be falling, in reality there are 738,000 more young people that are unemployed or underemployed than in 2005.

It has been calculated that unemployed and underemployed young people want more than two billion more hours of work annually than they are currently working. This equates to 323 hidden hours per young person per year, or 521 hidden hours per economically active young person.

Research commissioned by the Local Government Association reveals that when unemployment is combined with underemployment the situation is much worse than reports appear to show. Despite young people saying they would like to be working more, almost a third of young people's time is going unused and equating to an additional 2 billion hours a year. This is what the LGA has defined as ‘total hidden talent'.

The hidden talent figures are broken down as follows:

1.25 million are not working, but would like to

760,000 are in work but would like more hours and

425,000 are not working to their potential, for example graduates working in non-graduate jobs

Urban areas outside of London such as Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester are the worst hit by unemployment and have seen the biggest increases, while more regional areas in the West Midlands are suffering most from underemployment. For example, 26% of young people in Birmingham City Region are unemployed and just 14% are underemployed, but this trend reverses for the more out-of-town areas in the West Midlands with only 16% of young people are unemployed but 20% underemployed.


An individual’s employability is made up of their knowledge (what they know), skills (how they apply this knowledge) and their attitude (how they go about their business). 

Confidence and Ambition

Many participants suffer from a lack of self-belief or an absence of role-models. Doorstep Sport brings young people into contact with dedicated and supportive coaches and peers that set an example worth following.

A good sports project will build participant's confidence by giving them achievable and increasingly challenging targets. These can be awards for attendance, sporting targets (increasing a personal best or losing a set amount of weight) or basic volunteering duties such as looking after kit, taking registers, progressing down our volunteering pathway into positions of real responsibility. In time participants gain confidence and transferable skills, creating a demonstrable record of achievement that is highly attractive to prospective employers.

Skills and Qualifications

StreetGames has provided over 9,447 sports and coaching qualifications. Our assessment methods are radically different from those young people encounter at schools and colleges. StreetGames places privledges practical assessments, giving young people knowledge and asking them to apply it in real world situations. This has been a life changing experience for many of our participants. Our courses can be springboards into paid employment or apprenticeships and some return to formal education, bringing their new confidence and study skills into play at University.


StreetGames young leaders run projects and events. They ran Camp Glasgow, each year the young people run the annual young volunteers conference, and the annual awards night for volunteers.

You can make a difference

Sport brings huge benefits to young people’s lives. Even a small donation helps us to make those benefits available to our most disadvantaged communities.

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