Prince Charles warns of a 'devastating' impact on youth employment from coronavirus

Coronavirus will have a “potentially devastating” impact on the job prospects for Britain’s young people, Prince Charles has warned.

After government figures showed the number of young people claiming unemployment benefit has more than doubled in two months, the Prince of Wales has voiced his concern and says they need help “more than ever”.

He posted a video message for his charity, The Prince’s Trust, which he founded in the 1970s to help the country’s marginalised younger generation.

The Prince said: “Youth unemployment can cause a terrible downwards spiral, impacting mental health and leading to challenges such as low self-esteem, poverty, homelessness, or worse.”

The charity faces a huge challenge in getting young people into jobs, education and training as unemployment data shows that they are increasingly more likely to face unemployment than the rest of the working age population.

Prince Charles said in his message: “In times of economic hardship it is often young people who are hardest hit and we know that many under twenty-fives work in sectors such as hospitality and tourism, which have borne the brunt of this crisis.”

The Trust has launched a new website to match young people with vacancies with this message for businesses: “Hire the right people while doing the right thing”.

The Prince of Wales used his Royal Navy pension to set up the Prince’s Trust in 1976 to support 11 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed, struggling at school and at risk of exclusion.

He said the pandemic was causing “a real challenge” for young people suffering from the resulting “chaos and economic disorder”.

But he added: “This is why my Trust was set up – to help people to a better future.”

Prince Charles and Camilla have continued working as the pandemic hit but they had to do all their engagements remotely from their home, Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate in Scotland, where they spent the lockdown.

Prince Charles said young people have been hit hard by the crisis. Credit: PA

They relocated to Highgrove, the Prince’s home in Gloucestershire, last weekend.

The Prince and Duchess carried out their first face-to-face engagement on Tuesday when they thanked NHS and frontline staff in Gloucester for their hard work.

Charles and Camilla visited a hospital in Gloucester as they returned to face-to-face engagements. Credit: PA

His concern about a potentially significant rise in youth unemployment is reflected in many sectors of the economy – where 8 million workers are having 80 per cent of their wages paid by the government’s furlough scheme.

The scheme will be phased out over the summer and will end in October when some economists fear many firms will be forced to make staff redundant.