Press release

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

Nick Clegg unveils a new scheme to get 16- and 17-year-olds earning or learning again.

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

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.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Youth Contract, launched last November, aims to lift all young people out of unemployment. It will be jointly delivered by the Departments for Education, Business, Innovation and Skills, and Work and Pensions. Key features include: * cash payments to encourage employers to recruit young people * an extra 250,000 work experience places over the next three years * at least 20,000 extra incentive payments worth £1,500 each for employers to take on young people as apprentices * extra support through Jobcentre Plus in the form of weekly, rather than fortnightly, signing-on meetings, more time to talk to an adviser and a National Careers Service interview.

  2. Data from the 2011 Labour Force Survey for Quarter 3 showed that 150,000 16- and 17-year-olds (11.9 per cent) were not in education, employment or training.

  3. Research from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NfER) in 2009 showed that 40 per cent of 16- and 17-year-olds not in education, employment or training face significant barriers to re-engagement once they fall out of the system. They have a greater likelihood of long-term disengagement.

  4. Survey data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England showed that whilst on average young people spent one-and-a-half months not in education, employment or training in the 21 months immediately following compulsory schooling, a significant minority - 11 per cent - did spend at least six months of that time not in education, employment or training.

  5. The Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) will be responsible for awarding the contracts for the programme in England. The outline specification for the tender is published today and the deadline for the first stage is 5 March 2012. Shortlisted organisations will be invited to tender and contracts will be awarded in June, with provision getting off the ground as soon as possible after that. The specification and further information for potential bidders are available on the Contracts Finder website.

  6. Organisations that bid will be expected to demonstrate the following: * A successful track record in delivering support to young people from a variety of backgrounds. * Strong working relationship with local authorities and organisation that have a role in supporting young people e.g. Jobcentre Plus, Youth Offending Teams, Employers, Local Health Services etc. * Organisational capacity to deliver the programme including details of how many young people they plan to reach and across which region. * Competitive break down of cost associated with supporting each young person, up to a maximum of £2,200.

  7. Payment by results will be a key element of this programme. There will be three payment points: * An initial payment when a young person has begun the programme and an action plan has been agreed. * A re-engagement payment when the young person enters one of the re-engagement outcomes (3-6 months after the initial payment). * A sustainability payment when the young person has been engaged in one of the sustainability outcomes for six months from the date of re-engagement.

8.The funding available for each region will be broken down as follows:

Region Share of 16/17 NEET group Funding (£)
SOUTH EAST (A) 7.43% 9,367,843
SOUTH EAST (B) 7.03% 8,854,098
LONDON NORTH 6.72% 8,463,731
LONDON SOUTH  3.89% 4,900,791
EAST OF ENGLAND 10.87% 13,695,096
SOUTH WEST  8.83% 11,120,602
WEST MIDLANDS 11.50% 14,488,508
EAST MIDLANDS  7.86% 9,901,180
YORKS & HUMBER (remainder) 8.54% 10,758,640
MANCHESTER & CHESHIRE 7.31% 9,215,141
LIVERPOOL 1.23% 1,550,376
NEWCASTLE & GATESHEAD 1.38% 1,733,086
NORTH EAST (remainder) 5.15% 6,494,447
Total: 100.00% 126,000,000

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Published 21 February 2012