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Liberal Democrat News 24th February 2012

February 24, 2012 8:28 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Getting young lives back on track

Nick Clegg unveiled a pioneering scheme this week to get 16- and 17-year-olds who are out of work and not in education, earning or learning again.

As the next part of the Deputy Prime Minister's £1bn Youth Contract, for the first time funding will be targeted to this group of teenagers through tailored support on a payment-by-results system.

Help will focus on at least 55,000 young people - those 16- and 17-year-old NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) with no GCSEs at A* - C at the highest risk
of long-term disengagement. In England, the government is making £126m of new money available to give teenagers opportunities to train, work and get their lives on track.

Charities and businesses with expertise in supporting young people are being invited to bid for contracts worth up to £2,200 for every young person they help. Support will be tailored to suit individuals' needs, and will include basic skills training and interview practice.

Unlike any past schemes for this age group, payment will depend on results. Organisations will receive an initial payment for taking young people on, followed by subsequent payments when they show progress - including sticking with training programmes, undertaking apprenticeships, or holding down jobs.

"Sitting at home with nothing to do when you're so young can knock the stuffing out of you for years," said Nick. "It is a tragedy for the young people involved - a ticking time bomb for the economy and our society as a whole. This problem isn't new, but in the current economic climate 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. So helping them onto their feet will not be without challenges and government cannot do this alone. But we all have a duty to reach out to the young people who can be hardest to reach. That's why I am calling on charities and other organisations at the coalface to work with government to help tens and thousands of lost teenagers onto a brighter path."

Funding will be awarded to organisations across England with a proven track record in getting young people into work, apprenticeships, or training. Three areas - Liverpool, Leeds-Bradford-Wakefield and Newcastle-Gateshead - will be able to allocate their own pot of money as part of the Government City Deal agenda, aimed at giving more autonomy to England's core cities.

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