Two announcements this week provide the clearest signs yet that the government is serious about tackling the problem of disadvantaged and at risk young people ending up ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET).
The first was the Prime Minister’s speech on improving young people’s life chances (11th January). Among the measures he announced was a new national mentoring scheme targeted at 25,000 underachieving and at risk Y10 students. The Careers and Enterprise Company will work with business, charities and the public sector to recruit high-quality mentors for these teenagers.
The Prime Minister said that the government will “direct £70 million towards careers in this Parliament, principally to the Careers and Enterprise Company”. Details are not yet clear how this money will be spent or allocated over the next four years and whether or not it includes the £10 million already announced for the Careers and Enterprise Company this year. We also do not know if any of this money is earmarked for other initiatives that may be linked to the strengthening of the statutory guidance on the careers guidance duty in the spring. It is a significant sum of money and all the welcome for that despite the fact that it is nowhere near the figure of £200 million a year that the government used to spend on tackling the NEET problem under Connexions. The timing of this announcement is also significant in that a minister is due to appear shortly before the joint education and business committee which is conducting an inquiry into careers advice, information and guidance for young people. This initiative will help to deflect criticism of the state we are in now in careers, but it is to be hoped that the government is also in listening mode and will respond positively to the committee’s recommendations. The latest cegnet blog has suggestions for the committee to consider.
The second announcement was a press release about the launch of the Jobcentre Plus initiative (14 January) which will be rolled out nationally by September. Local Jobcentre Plus advisers will offer 12 to 18 year old pupils insight into the world of work and advice on options like traineeships and apprenticeships.
Read the Prime Minister’s life chances speech here
Read the JobcentrePlus press release here
Further details of the JCPSupport for Schools are available here