‘Make NEETS history in 2014’ is the challenge from Impetus-Private Equity Foundation in its recent report
Posted by Sally Melvin
16 Jan 2014
Impetus-PEF says Britain has a problem with NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training) and it is not going to go away on its own. I agree with this assessment. Its recent report cites several factors that contribute to the causes of being NEET, including social deprivation, school factors and ethnicity, and it is calling on Government to take direct action. One of its recommendations is that Ofsted be tasked with inspecting schools’ school-to-work transition activity.
Our research shows that literacy is also a strong causal factor in youth unemployment. One in six young people leave school without adequate literacy skills. In today’s competitive market this makes it very hard for them to get a job. However, the issue of employment spreads further than this. A significant number of young people who achieve five A* to C grades at GCSE struggle because they have no experience of how to translate this knowledge into the workplace, or of the "informal" literacy skills they will need to function successfully in a job. Our literacy and employability programme, Words for Work seeks to address this issue, through teaching vital literacy and employability skills using business volunteers from the local community working in partnership with schools. Young Words for Work students who gave evidence as part of our recent Youth Literacy and Employability Commission were clear about the advantages they had gained from taking part in the programme.
“If I could give the government a piece of advice on how they could help young people enter the world of employment, I would say, encourage businesses to go into local schools. We can put what we learn at school into real-life situations. This is what I think is missing. Words for Work gave me that chance. Words for Work changed the way I see school and it made me want to be more successful.”
We have a duty to support our young people while they are still at school to improve their chances of finding employment when they leave. As Impetus-PEF suggests in its recommendations, schools need to ensure that students have opportunities to engage with the world of work. Done well this support can raise aspirations, increase motivation and teach young people the skills they need to get the job they want. I believe by impacting on young people’s attitudes and knowledge between the ages of 11 and 16, we can tackle the growing problem of youth unemployment and the rising number of NEETs. Key to the success of this is the involvement and commitment of the business community. A recent Words for Work student sums it up perfectly:
“I think school and work are too separate at the moment. Businesses should work with schools more, so we know what they want when we’re looking for a job in the future.”
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Blogs by the same author
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