From education to employment

EMA Funding for Families Across the Nation to Meet Funds Shortage in Families

According to research by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in Lancashire, parents of teenagers are struggling to pay for their teenagers” needs because of debt and low household incomes.

The research also believes that the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) can help. Parents with children between 16 and 19 spend an average of £1,808 a year, or £34 a week, on each child in this age group. However, the amount among parents from households earning up to £30,000 a year is just £12 a week, according to the research commissioned to highlight the financial barriers young people face to remaining in education and training.

EMA Helping 16 ““ 19 Year olds

The EMA enables 16-19 year olds to earn up to £30 a week, plus bonuses worth up to £500 over two years, providing their household income is up to £30,000 a year. Staying in full-time education can also benefit the family, as they become entitled to other benefits such as Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit worth up to £60 per week.Interestingly, the research also suggests that it is everyday needs, like lunches, travel money, books, equipment and trips, that young people from lower income households are missing out on.

Moreover, over two fifths (43 %) of parents from households with an income of under £30,000 a year admit they find it difficult to buy their children everything they need, with two thirds of those who find it difficult citing their income as the main reason. Meanwhile, 43 % blame other financial commitments and one in five (18 % ) say their increasing levels of debt mean they cannot buy everything their children need.

Contrastingly, just 31 % of parents with a household income of up to £30,000 a year spend money on college and school trips for their children, compared with 40 % of parents on more than £30,000 a year.

Steve Palmer on EMA

Education Minister, Maria Eagle MP, commented: “In households earning up to £30,000 a year EMA gives more than just short-term help. In the long run it helps people attain a good set of qualifications, such as five good GCSEs or the equivalent, leading to better earnings and better employability.”

She continued: “EMA makes a difference. I urge anyone tempted to drop out of education into low paid work to think again and anyone who has already done so to find out about courses at college and how EMA can help them. By 2010 we know that very few jobs will be open to people without qualifications and it is in everyone’s interests that young people remain in education or training after 16.”

Steve Palmer, executive director of LSC, Lanacashire, also urges that young people consider taking “courses on which EMA is available, such as GCSE retakes, vocational or academic courses at school or college or an LSC-funded Entry to Employment (e2e) programme, or a course that leads to an Apprenticeship.”

Sudakshina Mukherjee

What about the rest of the country? Tell us your EMA story in the FE Blog

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