Press release

Help for 16 and 17 year olds to catch up, keep up and find work

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Jobcentre Plus, in partnership with local authorities, to help 16 and 17 year olds to catch up, keep up and find work.

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For the first time ever Jobcentre Plus, in partnership with local authorities, will implement a new approach that focuses support solely on 16-17 year olds who are not in education, employment or training and not in receipt of an income-based benefit.

From today, 16 and 17-year-olds will be given access to Jobcentre work coaches so that they can get individual help to find work and training, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Employment Minister Esther McVey have announced today.

The trained work coaches will help young people navigate the wide array of services on offer and tap into local employment and training opportunities. If successful, this new way of helping young people will be rolled out across England.

The number of 16 and 17 year olds who are not in education or training is now at the lowest level since records began, with 94% either working, studying or training.

Hundreds of young people could benefit as the first part of the initiative launches today in Lewisham, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Sheffield. Work coaches in Jobcentres will give one-to-one help from CV writing, interview skills, providing access to training or job matching.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

As our economy gets stronger, we need to make sure that every single young person shares in the recovery and gets help to reach their potential.

For the first time 16 and 17-year-olds who need help to find work or training will have access to Jobcentres where they will get tailored support from a work coach.

We need to do all we can to help them gain essential skills for work so they can play their part in securing Britain’s long term success, building a stronger economy and fairer society for this generation and the next.

This radical new pilot will give young people additional support from Jobcentre work coaches, who will use their local expertise and employer networks to help reduce young people’s chances of becoming long-term unemployed. The plan will see Jobcentres join forces with local authorities, employers, charities and local community organisations to provide access to all the best opportunities for young people.

Minister for Employment Esther McVey said:

Every young person deserves the best chance in life so they can secure their future. Youth unemployment is falling and the economy is growing, so as part of the government’s long-term economic plan we need to make sure every young person gets the help they need to benefit from the improving jobs market.

Jobcentre work coaches have a huge amount of expertise, experience and local labour market knowledge, and we want to use that to help young people get their foot in the door to the career they want. Together with local authorities, employers and charity groups we want to make sure that young people, from all walks of life, have got the networks, the role models and the confidence to succeed in the growing economy.

Every young person is different, so the support they receive will be uniquely tailored to them. Jobcentre work coaches have a huge amount of expertise and have seen great success supporting over 18s into work, which is why this system is being trialled for young people.

Support on offer through Jobcentre work coaches could include work experience, work taster courses, pre-apprenticeship support and meeting with employers to get a window into a wide variety of sectors and roles. They could also help with employability and work preparation, training focusing on career aspirations and team building. If needed, they’ll also work with organisations like the Prince’s Trust and other providers to ensure young people can get valuable skills and experience.

The number of unemployed young people fell by 48,000 in the last 3 months, and has been falling now for the last 8 months. It is down by 75,000 since 2010 and youth unemployment excluding those in full-time education is now at its lowest level since 2008.

More information

The Deputy Prime Minister announced this pilot in a speech in February

Currently, in rare circumstances, some disadvantaged 16-17 year olds who are claiming benefits are helped by Jobcentre Plus. This pilot is for 16-17 year olds not participating in education, employment or training (NEET) who are not claiming benefits. Participation on the pilot will be completely voluntary.

The pilot will run for up to 18 months and will be extended in the autumn to include a further 25 local authorities.

NEET figures released last week showed that 94.2% of 16 and 17-year-olds are participating in education and training, the highest comparable participation rate since consistent records began in 2001.

These pilots build on the offer to young people through the 16-17 year old Youth Contract, which specifically targets young people who are NEET and who are considered to be disengaged or hardest to reach and support them into education, training or a job with training.

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Published 27 May 2014