Clegg's Youth Contract 'penalising achievement’, says Barnardo's

Young people with one non-core GCSE are barred from Nick Clegg’s Youth Contract, writes Telegraph Jobs’ editor Louisa Peacock.

Tens of thousands of Britain’s most disadvantaged young people are being excluded from a government training and employment scheme aimed at curbing youth joblessness, according to Barnardo’s.

The charity has discovered a clause in the Government’s Youth Contract, which prevents young people with one GCSE from taking part in the scheme.

The rules mean that employers cannot offer work experience, internship or apprentice vacancies under the Youth Contract to some 84,500 16- to 17-year-olds who have left school with just one GCSE in a non-core subject, such as sport or art.

The £1bn Youth Contract was launched by Nick Clegg in April to tackle the record number of England’s 16- to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training – the so-called “Neet” generation – by giving companies wage incentives to take on young people and offer work experience.

The Department for Education will publish the latest Neet figures today and is hoping for an improvement on last year, when it was revealed that almost 1m, or 20pc, of under-25s are considered Neet – the highest ever number.

Young people with one non-core GCSE are barred from Nick Clegg’s Youth Contract, writes Telegraph Jobs’ editor Louisa Peacock.

Some £126m of the total Youth Contract budget is reserved for employers to help 16- and 17-year-olds, who are at greater risk of the “scarring effect” of being jobless.

But Barnado’s, one of the subcontractors being paid to deliver the Youth Contract in the West Midlands, North West and Yorkshire, warns that young people with just one GCSE are equally at risk of becoming a “Neet”. The charity is urging the DfE to change the rules.

Janet Grauberg, Barnardo’s UK director of strategy, said: “Youngsters with just one or two GCSEs are also at risk of becoming Neet and are being penalised for their achievements if they are not able to access further training. The Government must act now to give the most disadvantaged young people the chance to achieve their potential.”

Other concerns over the Youth Contract were raised earlier this year when City & Guilds, Britain’s biggest vocational exam board, said school-leavers could “fall through the cracks” of the jobs market because the scheme is inefficient and bureaucratic.

The Government insisted the Youth Contract would help get thousands of young jobless “earning or learning”.

This article was originally featured on telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs

Monday, 26 November 2012

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