From education to employment

Making Youth Employment Policy Work – APPG For Youth Employment Launches Its Report

Mims Davies

Today the APPG for Youth Employment launched the report following its 3 month inquiry – Making Youth Employment Policy Work.

The APPG welcomes the Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP to the session and presented the Minister with the recommendations of the inquiry.

The Minister shared the priorities of her Department in the wake of Covid, understanding the impact it has had on young people, particularly regarding the challenges in the labour market. In less than 12 months the Department have developed a number of programmes to support young people, creating a brand new employment programme; Kickstart along with the creation of 100 Youth Hubs which will be central to the support offered to young people across the country.

I am very appreciative of this APPG inquiry and the work that you have put in for our young people. Together we can work to ensure our young people look forward to the opportunities they will arise and work to make sure they know how to access them” Mims Davies MP

Along with the Minister, the inquiry heard from Youth Ambassador Alina Ali who shared some of her experience after loosing her job because of Covid. Labour MP Fleur Anderson had led her own constituency based inquiry to support the APPGs work and presented some of the challenges and opportunities she has seen in her community.

APPG for Youth Employment – Making Youth Employment Policy Work Report

The report welcomes the governments Plan for Jobs and the investment and rapid work of government officials to get programmes moving. But, the report recognises that there are still challenges to address and if the government is to truly create an Opportunity Guarantee for all young people then there will need to be further investment and development of the Plan for Jobs commitment.

Key Recommendations

A joined up approach to education, training and employment

  • A full Young Person’s Strategy should be developed and invested in. This strategy should be co-led by the Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education and should include support from other Departments such as Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Culture, Media Sport (DCMS) and Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG). This cross-departmental working would create an assurance that the journey for young people was well connected and appropriately funded.
  • Consult young people on the development and delivery of a Young Person’s Strategy and ensure that their voices are embedded across all policy areas that directly impact them.
  • Efforts to support young people at a local level should be focused through Youth Hubs including economic, training, education, careers and employment policy. Youth Hubs provide a key opportunity to bring a cross-department approach into practice at a local level.
  • The government should design more accurate and robust means of measuring the activity and progress of young people, including but not limited to the development of a “Youth Productivity Index”.
  • The monitoring and reporting of data around engagement, attainment and progress of young people with disabilities, those from Black, Asian and other minority groups, young care leavers and others with protected characteristics should be a requirement of all government invested programmes.
  • The government should build and utilise evidence of “what works” for supporting young people into employment – ensuring that policy leads and commissioning services are using evidence based policy in their development and funding models.

Education to Employment Transition

  • Ensure that there are quality education and training opportunities based on skill demands and future job needs analysis available to all young people where they live. The marker of quality should include the quality of outcomes and participant feedback.
  • Financial barriers that prohibit young people from choosing and or completing education and training options need to be addressed and appropriate funding mechanisms put in place to ensure that financial disadvantage does not continue to prohibit progress.
  • Review the education, training and support options for 16 & 17 year olds to ensure they are fit for purpose and that they engage young people to participate and not fall through the cracks. Exploring opening the Adult Education Budget funding to this cohort.
  • Increase investment and prioritisation of careers education, skill development, and impartial advice and guidance for young people during their time in education to include full and part-time education, college, university, and within traineeships and apprenticeships. To also ensure quality support is also available to those young people who are transitioning, or have become NEET.
  • Review employer incentives and contributions across Kickstart, traineeship and apprenticeship policy. Ensuring that policy areas do not compete and that employers are appropriately incentivised to create sustainable and high quality employment opportunities for all young people. The path from Kickstart to traineeship and apprenticeship must be clear for the employer and the young employee with funding appropriately allocated through that journey.
  • Update the Apprenticeship Levy policy to focus and incentivise the creation of employment and training opportunities for 16-24 year olds, ensuring that there is a pathway from entry level to higher level training for young people to scale.
  • Provide levy paying employers with further flexibility to allow them to use the levy to support pre-apprenticeship training or to be able to transfer more of their allowance.
  • Scrap the Small, Medium Enterprise (SME) apprenticeship contribution to allow SMEs to benefit from apprenticeships.
  • Ensure employers benefitting from incentives are working towards the principles of Good Youth Employment and providing quality opportunities with a focus on fair pay, quality experience and personal development.
  • Set ambitious targets for the public sector on Kickstart, traineeships, supported internships and apprenticeship starts, particularly for those young people who face multiple barriers to employment.

Support for young people not in education, employment or training

  • Ensure young people are benefiting from personalised and holistic support, with particular focus on those young people who have experienced 6 months or more NEET and those young people most at risk from long-term unemployment.
  • Provide further quality assurance checks and support to employers and gateway organisations to ensure that the Kickstart wraparound support meets the needs of the individual and will allow them to positively progress into education, employment or training.
  • Extend the Kickstart programme to ensure that it is available for young people whilst youth unemployment numbers are rising. In addition extend its availability to young people who are not claiming universal credit but have been NEET for 6 months or more.
  • Monitor the regional availability of into work programmes including sector based work academies, kickstart, traineeships and apprenticeships with particular focus on closing any regional gaps in provision.

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