Training and the ‘forgotten 50%’

11961230_sFor too long there has been an assumption that the best path to success for young people is via the conventional academic route. That kind of thinking is now out of date.

For a 14 year old following the traditional academic route there is a clear route through GCSEs to A’ levels and on to university. But for the ‘forgotten 50 per cent’ of young people that do not currently go to university, the alternatives are confusing and, in too many cases, low quality. A fifth of all apprentices receive no training at all and some college courses are seen as second rate by employers. Continue reading

Punishing young people financially is the Tory way

carrot and stickThe idea of giving young people aged 18-21 guaranteed access to education or training or help to find work is obviously a good one, but why spoil it by proposing that such persons should receive a means-tested ‘youth allowance’ at a rate perhaps even lower that the current job seeker’s allowance (JSA)?

JSA is already paid at the extremely low level of £72.40 a week (£10.34 a day) for adults aged over 25 – almost the lowest rate of unemployment benefit anywhere in Europe – and for those aged below 25 the rate actually falls to no more than £57.35 a week (£8.19 a day). It is now proposed in the IPPR report published on Thursday that they will only get this princely bauble if they already had the skills to secure a job or were in vocational training. Continue reading

NEETs need jobs, not a “military ethos”

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary has declared his support for a proposal for Academies sponsored by the armed forces. The original proposal came in a paper Military Academies: Tackling disadvantage, improving ethos and changing outcome by Phillip Blond and Patricia Kaszynska and published by ResPublica.

The paper starts by declaring that the problem to be solved is “the social and educational dysfunction that cripples our most depressed areas”. One of the causes of this dysfunction is “the loss from our most disadvantaged areas of the foundational moral institutions that can build resilience” (these institutions are not specified). Other causes are identified as extreme inequality in society and high unemployment in deprived areas. Continue reading

Job snob? No, I’ve got the T-shirt

One of the numerous job creation schemes of the Thatcher years was known officially as Employment Training, although the acronym was colloquially translated into ‘Extra Tenner’, because that was how much it paid on top of the dole.

These days, it seems, even an additional ten quid a week is a bit much to ask. Many of Britain’s  most profitable employers are securing staff for nothing, with the state picking up the tab for Jobseekers’ Allowance and a bus pass.

When I did my six month stint on ET, my employer provided me with what turned out to be useful training as a press officer for a voluntary organisation. I guess there is not quite so much to learn about the finer nuances of night time shelf stacking. Continue reading