YOUTH unemployment will not reach pre-recession levels until at least 2018, a decade after the financial crisis kicked in, according to a new report.

The Prince's Trust warned that 10 years of young talent will "fall between the cracks" unless urgent action is taken.

Before the recession, around one in seven young people in the UK were struggling to find a job, almost twice the current rate in Germany, said the report.

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Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince's Trust, said: "The financial crisis is finally over and for every young person who gets into work this is a step in the right direction.

"However, thousands of unemployed young people are still struggling and the youth unemployment levels were unacceptably high even before the recent recession.

"By the time youth unemployment falls back to pre-recession levels, an entire decade of young talent may have fallen between the cracks. Government and employers must re-double their efforts to support unemployed youngsters"

According to the youth charity, young people are still bearing the brunt of the downturn, even though the recession officially ended in 2009 and the UK is predicted to be the best performing of the world's economies this year.

Under-25s are almost three times as likely to be unemployed as the UK population as a whole, said the report,.

Employment increased by 459,000 over the past year but youth employment only went up by 10,000, just 2% of the additional people in work, according to the study, published ahead of the latest unemployment figures.