Schools Must Make Young People Work Ready
Business groups have welcomed a £126 million programme to help jobless 16- to 17-year-olds into work — provided the education system also focuses on producing “work-ready” young people.
The new Government scheme, announced by Nick Clegg this week, will see private training consultants and charities given up to £2,200 in performance-related instalments for every 16 to 17-year-old they help get into and stay in work, training or education for 12 months.
The initiative will help 55,000 ‘Neets’ — young people not in education, employment or training. One in five 16- to 24-year-olds are classified as Neets and more than a million young people are now registered unemployed.
“Any subsidy to help small businesses create jobs for these young people is a good thing,”
said Phil McCabe, senior policy adviser for the Forum of Private Business.
“But the bigger issue is that the present education system isn’t geared towards providing the sort of education and skills that businesses need.”
“We have a responsibility to make young people work-ready and get them jobs at the end of their education.”
The new scheme is linked to the Government’s Youth Contract, a £1 billion drive starting in April to get young people into work. Last week, the Government also announced a scheme to pay businesses up to £2,275 for every 18- to 24-year-old they take on from the Work Programme.
The Confederation of British Industry’s director for employment and skills, Neil Carberry, said:
“This latest announcement is a step forward, but we remain concerned that this programme does not go far enough. We still need to see urgent action in schools to minimise the risk of young people becoming Neets in the first place, through better careers and study advice and improved business-school links.”