There are record numbers of people going to university, and the number of people going from disadvantaged backgrounds has been rising faster than average.
But at the age of 19, 6 out of 10 young people choose not to go to university. They are vital to the future success of our economy. The government wants to give them a clear route to employment and training so they can participate in a growing economy.
For them, there are big decisions to be made, and a dizzying range of options to choose from in order to reach future career goals.
In July last year, the Deputy Prime Minister asked for a government review of what more we can do to help young people not going to university.
These new announcements will help prevent young people becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training):
A UCAS-style system for young people who don’t want to go to university
Those who go to university are able to make very active choices through their UCAS system. There is currently no single way for people who don’t go to university to make crucial choices about their future training, education or employment.
A new UCAS-style one stop online shop for young people who don’t want to go to university to ensure that they aren’t forgotten and don’t become NEET.
Every local area will provide access to a single website to help young people make choices about the training, apprenticeships, courses or other work-based programmes available in their area. This will allow people to more easily find out about and apply for all the options available to them in their local area.
Local authorities will be responsible for keeping the information up to date, and ensuring that there’s a guaranteed place in education or training for all young people.
Data on how successful local authorities have been will be published regularly.
This will be brought in as soon as possible and the government will start work with local authorities immediately.
Boosting the careers guidance offered in schools
Ofsted’s 2013 report into the provision of careers advice found that some schools were offering pupils effective guidance, but Ofsted found only 1 in 5 schools were giving all their students detailed careers support
We’re going to ramp up the requirement on schools to provide better careers advice. Under the new guidance, to be announced in the coming weeks, schools will be asked to improve their provision of careers advice.
Schools will have a new responsibility to develop close links with employers, across their local area. This is so that more young people can get the chance to meet successful business people, spend time working in their organisations and access valuable support like coaching or mentoring from people in the careers they want to do.
Ofsted will be looking more closely at the quality of careers advice and support available when they inspect schools.
Getting young people into work quickly
3 new ways of using Job Centre support to help young people find work or training quickly will be trialled. If successful, the Deputy Prime Minister wants them to be rolled out nationally.
1. Help at Job Centres for 16 and 17-year-olds for the first time
Currently, Job Centres only provide support to those aged 18 and above who are on benefits and looking for work. But the Job Centre is ideally placed to help young people access the wealth of job and training opportunities available, and get expert help in writing CVs and writing application forms or training for interviews.
Who will benefit: Around 3,000 young people aged 16 and 17 will take part in the pilot.
Where: The first pilot will be in Lewisham.
When: Spring 2014.
2. Removing basic skills barriers
Currently, 38% of young people don’t have Level 2 (equivalent of Grade C at GCSE) in maths and English.
English and maths skills are vital for success in today’s labour market. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlights that the best insurance against unemployment are literacy and numeracy skills.
To tackle this, a pilot scheme will run for 18 to 21-year-olds who don’t have Level 2 in English and maths. Their advisor at the Job Centre will put them on training courses immediately, to help improve their English and maths. This need will be identified from day 1 of their Jobseeker’s Allowance claim.
If people refuse to do this training, they won’t get their benefit.
We are trialling 2 options: the first involves a mixture of face to face and online support, and the second is online only. If the young person finds a job, they can continue their training as well.
Where: Kent, Mercia, Somerset and Devon & Cornwall (Job Centre Plus districts)
When: This will start in Autumn 2014.
3. Work experience
Over three-quarters of young people will leave Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) within 6 months of starting a new claim, but for those who don’t we are going to intervene.
We are going to trial a new approach for all 18 to 21-year-olds who have been on JSA for 6 months. This will give the young person an opportunity to try being in a work environment, it will help build their confidence and give them some recent work experience to discuss with future employers in interviews.
For some young people, this may expose barriers which they had previously not discussed with their advisers, such as low self confidence, or caring responsibilities, which their adviser can them help them tackle.
We know employers value work experience and that’s why we want to make sure all 18 to 21-year-olds who reach the 6 month point in their JSA claim to have access to it.