A lack of awareness about vocational learning routes into work may be holding back many young people from finding sustainable employment, according to a new report.
Routes into Work – it’s alright for some, published by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and Pearson, analyses why too many young people drift as so-called NEETs (Not in Education Employment or Training) unless they are able to reach a turning point in the form of starting an Apprenticeship or a Traineeship.
Nearly a third of those claiming unemployment benefit are parents and parenthood creates additional difficulties for those considering moving on to employment and training. While a lack of labour market knowledge among young people linked to the well documented problems of getting impartial careers advice in England.
AELP policy director Paul Warner said: “The report highlights that 88 per cent of apprenticeship completers remain in their jobs and that early results from the Traineeship programme show very promising signs of progression for the young people on them. Yet starts in apprenticeships for 19 to 24 year olds fell by 3 per cent in the first quarter of 2015-16 compared with the same period in the year before.
“Government delays in responding to training providers’ growth funding requests at the end of last year and more recently in respect of 16-18 apprenticeships are bound to be a factor in limiting any acceleration in growth, so evidenced new demand from employers and young people needs to be funded if we are to get the NEET figures down faster.”
Latest quarterly figures for Apprenticeships for 16 to 24 year olds show only a 4,000 increase in starts on the corresponding number a year ago and providers say that this number could be much larger if the current funding system was simplified and made more responsive to demand.
The report also finds that the Traineeships programme is starting to play an important role in engaging young people but awareness about the programme is low. It therefore calls for better promotion of Traineeships as a pathway to employment and further training to young people, employers and key influencers.
From October to December 2015, there were 853,000 young people aged from 16 to 24 in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET), an increase of 5,000 from July to September 2015 and down 110,000 (-1.4 per cent) from a year earlier.
The report’s authors believe that faultlines between different government departments and agencies do not serve disengaged young people well.
Lesley Davies, Senior Vice President at Pearson, said: “This report contains very valuable analysis on some of the challenges facing young people as they look for work or education. We need to explore further why the hour-glass pattern for skills is emerging with not enough progression to level 3 and above and there needs to be a concerted effort by government, employers, providers and others to raise awareness among young people about the high quality vocational learning routes that are available to them.”