The LGA is urging the Government to appoint a youth minister and take emergency measures to prevent a ‘lost’ generation of young people missing out on training and jobs
As the next generation of workers, young people’s engagement in education, employment and training is vital for local areas and the economy.
Children and young people need and deserve the best start in life and helping them fulfil their potential is a key ambition of all councils.
However, we know that for some young people this is not happening, and that is a concern for councils from both an economic and welfare perspective.
Back in August (first 650), we highlighted that powers over skills and training for young people need to be localised to avert an employment crisis. The latest official figures show the percentage of young people (aged 16-24) who are unemployed has risen to 13.4 per cent, with some estimates suggesting a further 600,000 could find themselves jobless by the end of the year.
This is a real concern for councils, not just because of the economic impact but equally the impact on young people’s finances, health and wellbeing.
Last year, we set out to develop our policy to improve youth participation in education, employment and training. This work, and our engagement work with the sector and stakeholders, culminated last month in the publication of ‘Re-thinking youth participation for the present and next generation: education to employment’, which includes case studies of council good practice and a series of recommendations (see below).
The report – agreed jointly by our three LGA boards – calls for a rapid and focused response to prevent a ‘lost’ pandemic generation. It urges the Prime Minister to appoint a youth minister to work across Whitehall and to have oversight of a new youth employment and skills (YES) taskforce, which would include representatives of government departments, the LGA, business and other relevant organisations.
The Government also needs to use the Spending Review to devolve careers advice, post-16 and skills budgets and powers to local areas. This would allow councils, schools, colleges and employers to work together to improve provision for young people so that they can get on in life.
Local government is best placed to lead on this work. Our stakeholders also share our ambition and drive to improve the system and are proactively supporting our work.
This is a unique opportunity to be ‘Re-thinking local’ to unlock the full potential of local and national partners across the country to support economic recovery. The Government must work with us in partnership to deliver its recovery ambitions and the forthcoming devolution agenda. Our Work Local model provides a blueprint for devolution of employment and skills.
Re-thinking youth participation
The Government should immediately:
- set up a youth, employment and skills taskforce and appoint a youth minister
- localise investment for those out of work
- work in partnership with local government to plan, coordinate and deliver the Kickstart Scheme
- give additional powers and resources to councils to extend the September Guarantee offer
- grant apprenticeship flexibilities to increase the number of young people starts
- provide greater investment and incentives for employers to promote the take-up of T Levels.
By 2022, the Government should:
- trial at least one Work Local pathfinder in each region across England
- establish an integrated youth employment and skills (YES) service
- give local government the tools, power and resources to co-design and co-commission a local career offer, and plan a coherent post-16 offer
- provide dedicated careers/transition support funding for secondary schools
- provide a multi-year flexible funding pot to give additional support to secure and/or sustain employment or training.