Nearly three-quarters of young Scots say life out of work is worse than ever but rushing in to self-employment is no cure, trade unions have warned.
The Prince's Trust study of Neets (not in employment, education or training) under the age of 30 said around 73 per cent felt the job market was tougher than they'd ever known and 22 percent said finding a job in the next year seemed "unachievable."
A third did not believe they would find a job in the next six months and 61 percent said looking for work in the current economy was "demoralising."
With youth unemployment recently pegged at 21.5 per cent, the figures come as little surprise.
But the study, financed by the Royal Bank of Scotland group, plugged self-employment and mentoring as an answer to the unemployment crisis.
The trust's A-Z of Young Businesses campaign has urged unemployed young people to consider starting their own small business, with director Heather Grey saying it was clear young people were increasingly disillusioned.
"Through our Youth Business Scotland programme, young people have the opportunity to explore and test their business ideas and will be fully supported by business mentors.
"The start-up funding the trust offers allows them to create opportunities for themselves at a time when unemployment remains a persistent barrier."
But the Scottish Trades Union Congress warned self-employment was no panacea and in many cases could hurt far more than it helped.
Assistant secretary Ian Tasker told the Morning Star they were supportive of any young person with a sustainable business plan but that the study glossed over the "harsh realities" of starting your own business, especially in a lengthy recession and with no previous experience.
Start-ups meant taking on considerable debt and a failing business without savings meant poor credit ratings and more financial struggles in future.
"It's not just financial risk, but the damage to their self-confidence. No agency should be encouraging people to go into self-employment purely to paint a false picture of full employment."
It was hoped that RBS, which last year fell £1.1 billion short of its small business lending targets, would offer more generous terms at least, Mr Tasker said.
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