Young people must remain in Education, Employment and Training to 17

27 Aug

As from the summer of 2013, young people were required in England and Wales to be in education and/or training up to the age of 17. This will be raised to 18 in the summer of 2015.   They can move on to sixth form, tertiary or Further Education (FE) colleges. They could also take up employment at the age of 16 provided that they are also being trained simultaneously.  The government, through its Work Programme, has released funding for employers to hire apprentices for this purpose.

However, the Work Programme has been limping along.  Top-performing colleges have been successful in helping unemployed students find sustainable jobs at ten times the rate of the Work Programme.   Research carried out by the Association of Colleges (AoC) discovered that colleagues reported that 30% or more of their unemployed students entered long-term jobs at the end of their courses.  By contrast, only 3.5% of clients in the Work Programme had found sustainable employment.   However, 4% of colleges reported employment rates of less than 5%.

Restrictions on funding and Jobcentre rules have presented formidable barriers to securing employment for young people.   Notwithstanding, the colleges are predicting that over time the situation will improve particularly with benefit reforms that will see the introduction of universal credits which will be introduced from October 2013 and phased in over the next four years.  It will mean an end to the 16-hour rule, which prevents people from claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance if they are on a full-time course, on the grounds that they are unavailable for work.

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