Latest Public Sector News

21.02.12

‘Pay-per-Neet’ scheme aims to help teenagers find work

A project launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will allow firms and charities to bid for a payment-by-results scheme to try to get ‘Neet’ teenagers into work or training.

The £126m scheme will target 55,000 teenagers inEnglandwith poor qualifications who are currently not in education, employment or training.

Clegg said: “We urgently need to step up efforts to ensure some of our most troubled teenagers have the skills, confidence and opportunities to succeed. Many of them will have complex problems: truancy, teenage pregnancy, a lack of GCSEs and health problems.”

The scheme is part of the Youth Contract announced in the autumn. It will invite bids for contracts worth up to £2,200 for each teenager who can be sustained in work, education or training for 12 months.

The target group will be 16 to 17 year olds without any GCSEs at C grade or above, those at the lower end of the Neet age range.

The organisations that win the contracts will decide their own approach, with the emphasis on rewarding a successful outcome. Payments will be staggered, so that the full amount will be paid only to contractors when young people have remained in work or training for a year.

The project has been challenged by the ATL teachers’ union. ATL officer Adrian Prandle said: “We have deep misgivings that getting charities and businesses to provide support for unemployed youngsters outside the education system will undermine the likelihood of success.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne also said the Youth Contract would not help most young unemployed people: “This is much too small and much too late to tackle a problem that is likely to cost our country £28bn over the next ten years.

“The Government needs to bite the bullet and put in place a sensible tax on bankers’ bonuses in the next budget to help get 100,000 young people back to work.”

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