From education to employment

Transition to Adulthood Tougher Than Ever, says Phil Woolas MP

A report issued by the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) on the issues facing 16 ““ 25 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds has been welcomed by the Government.

The report, entitled “Transitions”, includes not only some startling research results concerning suicide rates, using ASBOs inefficiently and the cost to the state of failing young people and not bringing them back into the workforce, but also some details of the measures to be taken by a cross ““ Governmental action. And a government minister spoke about the report as a necessary document given the new and difficult environment facing young people in this transition today.

Generation Gap

The Minister of State responsible for the SEU and Local Government, Mr. Phil Woolas MP, spoke of the need to recognise the change that society as a whole has undergone and the consequences of this, saying: “For my generation – and my parents generation – the transition from adolescence to adulthood was relatively straightforward: leave school, get a job, leave mum and dads home, get married, start a family. But these days – as the SEU report shows – the transition is more complicated – and more difficult.”

Speaking of the need for better advice and guidance for the young people, he said: “All young people need help and advice during this critical stage of their lives. Important decisions have to be made – decisions about work and education, for example. But for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people that advice can sometimes be lacking – and this can result in existing disadvantage being passed from one generation to the next.

Trust and Respect

The report raises the issue of respect and responsibility and the need to enhance these amongst the young people concerned. This is a sentiment that Mr. Woolas shared: “For me, one of the key points in the SEU report is the focus on the need for a disadvantaged young adult to have trust in someone they respect – and who respects them. Someone who can support and advise them – but also challenge their thinking. This is crucial. And it is one way that all young people can experience a successful and happy adult life.”

He stated that the Government is entirely commited to effecting the changes outlined in the report, saying: “The SEU report Transitions shows how seriously the government takes this. The actions show that this is a cross government initiative to help get young adults lives back on track.”

Projects to Build On

Jane Slowey, Chief Executive of the Foyer Federation, also welcomed the report, saying: “This report is a positive step towards treating young people according to the stage they have reached, rather than just their age. Too many disadvantaged young people are being failed in their early twenties, a time when many are most in need of support to help them move into education, training and work.

“Young people living in projects such as Foyers often face what seem like insurmountable barriers to get them back into a positive cycle and help them progress.” She concluded with a message to the Government, warning them of the need for imnmediate and sustained action: “Government now needs to act on the evidence presented in this report and elsewhere to ensure that all young people have the chance to realise their full potential.”

Jethro Marsh

Read a review of the SEU report right here at FE News!

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