EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

UK: ERM Comparative Analytical Report on Recent Policy Developments related to those Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET)

  • Observatory: EMCC
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 06 February 2012



About
Country:
United Kingdom
Author:
Melanie Simms
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

There is considerable interest in the problems facing NEETs amongst policy makers, social partners and the media in the UK. Overall, the approach has relied on government policy to promote both continued engagement with education, and to facilitate transition into the labour market. The coalition government elected in 2010 shifted emphasis away from ALMPs subsidising work opportunities for NEETs towards encouragement (but not funding) for employers to develop such programmes. There is also an effort to engage social enterprises and the third sector in these programmes with funding. In England, funding has been withdrawn from direct payments to young people to remain in education (Education Maintenance Allowance) and some additional funds will now be targeted at schools to allocate as they choose. A number of policy recommendations have been made to the new government and it looks likely that we will see continued development in this area. The report highlights the key findings of the Wolf Report and these are important areas of future development.

1. Introduction

1.1 What is the level of interest among the different stakeholders in your country (policy makers, the media, employers and trade unions) in the issue of NEETs? What are their reasons for having a high/ low level of interest in the topic? (Expected length 100 words)

There is currently considerable concern among different stakeholders in the UK regarding the position of NEETs. Specifically, when quarterly unemployment data is released, the main media focus in the past 2 years or so has been the marked difference in employment rates of young workers (currently 20.5%) as compared to the general working age population (7.9%). Concern has also focused on the absolute numbers of NEETs (currently around 940,000). The main reasons for this are that young people are suffering disproportionately as a consequence of the labour market effects of the financial crisis of 2008. Blanchflower has established that labour market prospects for young people in the UK have significantly worsened since 2008 largely because of a contraction of entry level positions available. Other options (training, education, apprenticeships) have remained roughly constant. As a consequence, there has been a jump in youth unemployment and NEETs.

The change of government in May 2010 led to a significant shift of policy emphasis. Previously, the focus had been on labour market activation policies (ALMPs) providing subsidies for employers to take on young people in employment and work experience positions. These programmes have been closed and the current government published a strategy document Supporting Youth Employment in May 2011. This highlights five key areas of policy:

  1. Raising attainment and ensuring that young people have the skills they need through quality vocational education and training;
  2. Helping young people at risk of falling through the net by supporting local partners (often community and voluntary organisations) to provide effective and co-ordinated services;
  3. Encouraging employers to offer more work experience, internships and apprenticeships;
  4. Promoting personal responsibility by ensuring that work pays and those on out-of-work benefits who can work prepare and search for work;
  5. Creating the wider conditions for economic growth.

Crucially, unlike previous ALMPs, other than in the area of providing training for apprentices, central government funding commitments are focused on encouragement and co-ordination rather than subsidies or financial incentives.

Policy attention has also focused on the recent Wolf Report recommendations to improve vocational training, published in May 2011. The government has indicated that it is inclined to accept the recommendations which include:

  • incentivising young people to take the most valuable vocational qualifications pre-16, while removing incentives to take large numbers of vocational qualifications to the detriment of core academic study;
  • introducing principles to guide study programmes for young people on vocational routes post-16 to ensure they are gaining skills which will lead to progression into a variety of jobs or further learning, in particular, to ensure that those who have not secured a good pass in English and mathematics GCSE continue to study those subjects;
  • evaluating the delivery structure and content of apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the right skills for the workplace;
  • making sure the regulatory framework moves quickly away from accrediting individual qualifications to regulating awarding organisations;
  • removing the requirement that all qualifications offered to 14- to 19-year-olds fit within the Qualifications and Credit Framework, which has had a detrimental effect on their appropriateness and has left gaps in the market;
  • enabling lecturers and professionals to teach in schools, ensuring young people are being taught by those best suited.

1.2 Using the following table, please identify which sub-groups of NEETs are of particular concern to the different stakeholders in your country. Please indicate the relative importance of each group to the different stakeholders; for each group please state whether they are felt to be of ‘significant concern’, ‘some concern’, or ‘no concern’ to the different stakeholders.

Table 1 – NEETs sub-groups
 

Public/media debate

e.g. the extent to which the issue is discussed within the news media

Mainstream Policy

e.g. the range of policy documents tackling the issue, the amount of investment committed to tackling the problem

Employers

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Trade unions

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Young people who are unemployed

Signifcant concern

Significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people who are in ‘precarious’ or unsuitable employment (e.g. temporary contracts, forced self-employment, part-time work, or jobs which are not commensurate with their level of qualifications)

No Concern

No concern

No concern

Some concern

Early school leavers – young people who have dropped out of education before obtaining an upper secondary level qualification

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

No concern

Young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs

No concern

No concern

Some concern

No concern

Teenage/ single parents

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

No concern

Migrants and minority groups

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with disabilities

No concern

Some concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from workless families

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

No concern

Young people with tertiary education who have been unsuccessful in accessing the labour market

Significant cocnern

Some cocnern

Some concern

Some concern

Other (please specify):

Interns

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

Signifcant concern

1.3 Are there any policy measures in your country targeted at those NEETs with tertiary education? If yes please describe these briefly (expected length 100 words).

NEETs graduating from tertiary education do not benefit from specific policy initiatives, but they generally do have access to specialised career planning and support – typically through their university or college. Growing policy and media concern has been expressed about the importance of (often unpaid or very low paid) internships in facilitating labour market transitions for those with tertiary education. There are calls for the status of interns to be clarified in UK law to ensure that they are covered by employment protection legislation. Attention has been drawn to the problematic impact of public sector cuts on graduate level jobs outside the South East of England.

2. NEET Policies and Measures

2.1 Measures to tackle early school leaving

Preventive Measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.1 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to preventing early school leaving. Where does the focus of policies and measures to prevent early school leaving lie?

Compulsory schooling ends at 16 in the UK, however it is generally regarded as highly desirable that young people continue in some for of education or training until at least 18. The first significant measure has been legislation passed in 2008 that raises the compulsory school leaving age to 17 in 2013 and 18 in 2015. It should be noted that education and training can be combined post-16. A second development is the increase in budget for disadvantaged young people (<16) via the ‘pupil premium’. This is paid directly to schools and academies to support disadvantaged young people and encourage continuing engagement with education. Schools are free to spend the money as they see fit, but are accountable to central government (details below). A third development has been the announcement in May 2011 of a £10 million annual Innovation Fund. The details are complex, but it will be distributed by the Department of Work and Pensions to schemes aimed particularly (but not exclusively) at NEETs. The hope is that it will facilitate the voluntary and community sector to develop innovative approaches to helping target groups – most notably NEETs. A fourth commitment is to implement the main policy recommendations of the Wolf Report (see introduction).

A controversial policy development has been to withdraw the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in England. This provided – and in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales still provides – young people aged 16, 17 or 18 from relatively low income families a weekly payment of up to £30 to assist with the additional costs of staying in education. It was closed to new applicants from 1st January 2011 and consultation on a new mechanism for providing support to young people to remain in education has just finished (May 2011). Current proposals consulted on include payment of an annual grant of up to £1200 for young people from particularly vulnerable groups (those in care, those leaving care, and those in receipt of income support – typically because the do not live with their parents). The intention is then to develop a Bursary Fund for schools to distribute grants of £800 per year to the 15% of students most in need. Crucially new measures are likely to target a far smaller group than EMA.

2.1.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to prevent early school leaving in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: Preventive measures
Early School Leaving: Preventive measures
Name of measure

Description of the measure: aims and objectives

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Raising of compulsory education leaving age

The compulsory school leaving age will rise from 16 to 17 in 2013 and 18 in 2015

National

Unilateral

State funded

General measure

No

Pupil premium

Increase in Pupil Premium budget allocation to support young people (<16) and discourage drop out from compulsory education. Total expenditure will be £625m in 2011-12, and will rise to £2.5 billion a year by 2014-15

Scale: national

Unilateral

State funded

General measure

Yes

Innovation fund

£30 million over three years will be available under the Innovation Fund to pilot new schemes of cooperation between the public sector and third sector focused particularly on reducing youth unemployment.

Scale: national

Bipartite

State funded

General measure

Depends

2.1.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the preventive early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

It is impossible to comment on the effectiveness of these initiatives as they are newly introduced and represent a significant shift of policy emphasis. However, the Pupil Premium (PP) is the most universal scheme.

Total funding for the PP will be £625m in 2011-12, and will rise to £2.5 billion a year by 2014-15. The level in 2011-12 will be £430 per pupil. PP funding is additional to main school funding. It will be allocated to schools for most pupils and will be clearly identifiable. It will be for schools to decide how the PP is spent. Schools will be free to spend the PP as they see fit and will be accountable through publishing online reports for how they have used it. New measures will be included in the school performance tables (‘league tables’) that will capture the achievement of those deprived pupils covered by the PP. Schools will be provided with evidence and information about interventions which can improve the progress and attainment of pupils from poorer backgrounds. Key objectives are to increase school attainment of deprived pupils and to reduce early school leaving.

For students under the age of 16 the policy focus is on developing alternatives to exclusion from school which is closely associated with early school leaving. Local projects can be developed to provide support for students who find it difficult to engage in mainstream schooling and curricula can move significantly away from the national curriculum where judged to be necessary. Because projects and initiatives are run by local authorities there is considerable variation in scale and scope. Only in exceptional circumstances are students placed in vocational programmes prior to aged 16. Generally, these schemes are either funded by local government, or by securing specific national funding for a fixed period. Programmes for those aged 16+ are discussed in the following section.

Reintegration measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.4 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to the reintegration of early school leavers. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

For people between the ages of 16 and 19 local projects are the main source of support, so there is considerable local variation. Typically projects rely on referrals from voluntary organisations and statutory agencies and provide a range of support including encouragement and support to return to education.

‘Return to Lean’ programmes (often run by trade unions, the Workers Education Association or local colleges) are not exclusively targeted at those who left school before the end of compulsory schooling. They are mainly targeted at older adults who lack confidence in their basic skills.

2.1.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to reintegrate early school leavers in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: reintegration measures
Early School Leaving: Reintegration measures
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Activity Allowance

Pilot project run in 8 areas (2006-2011) offering allowance of £30 per week to NEETS (16-17) in exchange for agreeing to and participating in a personalised plan to re-engage them in learning. Judged by evaluation to be an extremely effective engagement mechanism. But unlikely to be extended in current financial context.

Regional.

National state funding.

NEET specific.

Yes.

Connexions

Connexions services provide support for young people (13-19). They provide local services and almost all Connexions services have programmes to help re-engage NEETs. However, Connexions services are currently under threat of closure and/or serious cuts.

National programme delivered locally.

National State funding.

No.

No – although some programmes do.

Measure 3:  

2.1.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the reintegration early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

2.2 Measures to facilitate access to employment

Facilitating the transition from school to work

2.2.1 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to facilitating school to work transitions. Where does the focus of policies and measures to facilitate transitions lie?

Measures to facilitate access to employment are changing as a consequence of policy change with the election of the coalition Conservative-Liberal Democrat government in May 2010. Employment advice has been provided by the Connexions service which offers a wide range of personal advice – including career and training guidance – to help young people make the transition to adulthood and labour market participation. However, local impacts of austerity measures and cuts to public sector spending seem to be disproportionately impacting this service. The public sector union Unison is currently campaigning to save jobs and services within Connexions, although with few major victories to date. Schools, colleges and academies will now provide these services and proposed legislation will place a statutory responsibility on them to do so. The concern from Connexions employees and trade unions is that provision of career guidance will fall low down the list of priorities for spending for individual schools. It certainly seems unlikely that there will be formal institutional responsibility for providing the breadth of advice currently offered by Connexions.

2.2.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to facilitate school to work transitions in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 4 - Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions
Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Work expereience and Work Clubs for 5000 16 and 17 year olds.

National

Unilateral

State funding

NEET specific

No

Work programmes for vulnerable 18 year olds e.g. those in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance at 17

National

Unilateral

State funding

NEET specific

No

Yes

Sector Work Academies

Sector-based work academies provide accredited, sector-specific pre-employment training and work experience for unemployed people who are motivated and ready to work. Placements last for a maximum of 6 weeks (but can be less) and consist of three elements: pre-employment training, a work experience placement, a guaranteed job interview.

National scheme – local delivery

Unilateral

State funded

General

No

No

2.2.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the school-to-work transition measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Measures to foster employability

2.2.4 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to fostering employability among NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

There has been a significant shift of emphasis with the new government, away from providing subsidies to employers for jobs for young people through the Future Jobs Fund which ceased in 2010, towards providing support and funding for work experience placements and internships. The government argues that this approach reduces deadweight costs significantly, although this is contested. Work experience and internships are controversial because they are often paid very poorly, if at all, and in some cases are not covered by employment protection legislation. There is also a strong emphasis on promoting apprenticeships.

2.2.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to foster employability of NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 5 - Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships)
Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships).
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Encouraging internships and work placements

National

Unilateral

No funding – employer pays

General

Yes (internships)

No

Promoting apprenticeships (c 60,000 new apprenticeships created p.a.)

National

Unilateral

State funding

General

No

No

Compulsory work placements for those on Job Seekers Allowance (‘workfare’)

National

Unilateral

State funding

General

No

No

2.2.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country to foster the employability of NEETs (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The emphasis by both this government and the previous on promoting apprenticeships seems to have had a degree of success. Government data show a significant increase in apprenticeships in the past 2-3 years from around 240,000 in 2008 to 300,000 in 2010. The policy emphasis on apprenticeships was introduced because of the relative lack of emphasis on vocational training in the UK system and is a mainstream project. State funding covers the full cost of training for those aged 16-18, and 50% of the cost for those 19-25. An announcement in March 2011 committed the government to funding a further 50,000 apprenticeships in an effort to address youth unemployment and NEETs. The total budget for 2010-11 is £1337 million with £780 million allocated to 16-18 year olds. Approximately 300,000 apprentices started 2010 with 99,000 of those being 16-18 year olds. The completion rate is approximately 70%. The initiative is run collaboratively between government agencies, individual employers, and training providers (usually colleges). Anyone can apply for an apprenticeship, but the main focus is on those under 25 to facilitate successful labour market transitions. A new programme called Access to Apprenticeship aims to target approximately 10,000 vulnerable young people (including NEETs) to facilitate entry to apprenticeship schemes.

Removing practical and logistical barriers

2.2.7 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to removing practical and logistical barriers for NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

Provision to remove practical and logistical barriers to employment for NEETs is generally organised, funded and co-ordinated at local level. In areas where there are larger numbers of NEETs with ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) needs, local authorities have provided support. However, ESOL services are under significant pressure from public sector budget cuts. The ‘Care to Learn’ is a national programme supporting parents under 20 in education with a grant for childcare of up to £160 per week per child. For parents over 20 years old, there are discretionary funds run by individual colleges which can provide some support. There are also examples of partnerships with businesses such as Barclaycard Horizons which provides support for lone parents in both work and education. Some charities provide local schemes to support young disabled people into work, for example the national Shaw Trust programme for those with learning disabilities and the Scope project in Tower Hamlets in London. Overall, the local nature of these provisions means that support is fragmented and variable.

2.2.8 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to remove practical and logistical barriers to employment for NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 6 - Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers
Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Care to Learn – child care for young parents in education

National

Unilateral

State funded

General

No

Yes

Scope Project – Tower Hamlets (small scale) working with NEETS with learning difficulties

Local

Bipartite (local govt and charity)

State funded

NEET specific

NoYes

Barclaycard Horizons (medium scale). Provides advice and small grants to NEETs who are lone parents

National

Bipartite (local govts and business)

Private funding

General

No

Yes

Employer incentives

2.2.9 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to incentivising employers to recruit young people (who are NEET). Where does the focus of policies and measures to incentivise employers lie? Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

A central policy shift since the election of the coalition government in 2010 has been withdrawal of funding for employers hiring young workers. This has been primarily justified by a priority to reduce the deadweight costs of activation policies in general, including for NEETs. Thus, there are few financial incentives for employers to hire NEETs. Training costs of apprenticeships are met by the State, but this is the only direct financial incentive for employers.

2.2.10 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to incentivise employers in your country.

Table 7 - Access to employment: Employer incentives
Access to employment: Employer incentives
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Training costs for apprenticeships

National

Unilateral

General

No

No

2.2.11 Please provide a more detailed description of the employer incentive which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The budget to help fund apprenticeships represents a substantial investment by the State (c £1.4 billion). Employers also benefit financially from the fact that the National Minimum Wage for apprentices is £2.50 (compared to £5.93 for workers aged 21 and over, £4.92 for workers aged 18-20, and £3.64 for 16 and 17 year olds).

3. Conclusion

There is considerable recognition of the issues of youth unemployment in general, and NEETs specifically. This has been heightened since the crisis of 2008 as under 25s have been hardest hit by labour market changes. By far the largest single explanatory factor in explaining the rises in youth unemployment rates and NEETs in the past 2-3 years has been a contraction of entry-level labour market positions (Blanchflower 2011).

EU action has had relatively little direct impact on the NEET agenda in the UK. There is little evidence of direct funding being received and the political discussion emerges primarily from national debates rather than EU level debates.

The new government has proposed a series of measures for tackling problems with NEETs including raising attainment during compulsory schooling, programmes to encourage engagement with compulsory schooling for those who risk exclusion, investment in apprenticeships, and a focus on economic growth to provide the conditions for increased employment opportunities. It should be noted, however, that the public sector spending cuts are likely to significantly decrease labour market opportunities in that area and related organisations, and that there is currently relatively little evidence of widespread jobs growth in the private sector. It should also be noted that the disengagement from ALMPs that provide employer subsidies for recruiting young workers is at odds with labour market policy in much of the rest of the EU. The consequences of these policies remain to be seen.

Melanie Simms, Industrial Relations Resarch Unit, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

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