Radical new approach to defuse 'ticking time bomb' of NEETs

Published on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 10:46
Posted by Scott Buckler

Today the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will unveil a pioneering scheme to get 16- and 17-year-olds who are out of work and not in education, earning or learning again

As part of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Youth Contract, the Coalition Government will, for the first time, target funding to this group of teenagers through tailored support on a payment-by-results system.

Help will focus on at least 55,000 young people – those 16- and 17-year-old NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) with no GCSEs at A* - C at the highest risk of long term disengagement. The Government is making £126m of new money available to give teenagers opportunities to train, work and get their lives on track.

Charities and businesses with expertise in supporting young people are being invited to bid for contracts worth up to £2,200 for every young person they help. Support will be tailored to suit individuals’ needs, and may include support to help them access and remain in education, training or an apprenticeship.

Unlike any past schemes for this age group, payment will depend on results. Organisations will receive an initial payment for taking young people on, followed by subsequent payments when they show progress – including remaining in education, undertaking apprenticeships, or holding down a job. To achieve the best results, the scheme will give total freedom to those providing support – as long as the end result is success for the young person.

Disengaged 16- and 17-year-olds are being singled out for special funding because of compelling evidence that being NEET in early life can leave a permanent scar on earning potential, with the effects on their careers still evident decades later. By the age of 42, someone who had frequent periods of unemployment in their teens is likely to earn 12-15 per cent less than their peers.

Announcing the funding at the Groundwork Hub in south east London, the Deputy Prime Minister said:

Sitting at home with nothing to do when you're so young can knock the stuffing out of you for years. It is a tragedy for the young people involved - a ticking time bomb for the economy and our society as a whole. This problem isn't new, but in the current economic climate we urgently need to step up efforts to ensure some of our most troubled teenagers have the skills, confidence and opportunities to succeed.

Many of them will have complex problems: truancy, teenage pregnancy, a lack of GCSEs and health problems. So helping them onto their feet will not be without challenges and Government cannot do this alone. But we all have a duty to reach out to the young people who can be hardest to reach. That's why today I am calling on charities and other organisations at the coal face to work with Government to help tens and thousands of lost teenagers onto a brighter path.

Funding will be awarded to organisations across England with a proven track record in getting young people into education, work, apprenticeships, or training. Three areas – Liverpool, Leeds-Bradford-Wakefield and Newcastle-Gateshead – will be able to allocate their own pot of money as part of the Government City Deal agenda, aimed at giving more autonomy to England’s core cities.

Local authorities will be central to the success of the programme. They will work with successful providers to target those young people in their area who will benefit most, fitting this programme with other provision on offer locally.

Payment-by-results will free the charities to do what they know works for young people. Tightly controlled schemes are less effective with lower success rates. The package of support offered will be encouraged to be innovative, to use new methods, to do whatever is right to get that 16- or 17-year-old earning or learning again.

Children and Young People's Minister Tim Loughton said:

We are committed to supporting those 16- and 17-year-olds who have found it hard to find training or work upon leaving school. We want them to receive personal, targeted support from experts who will give them the confidence, skills and motivation to stay in education or find a job with training.

Providers know how best to support young people back into education training and employment. It's time we put them back on the road to success.

We are looking forward to receiving some innovative ideas that really work from experienced organisations in all sectors.


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