Headlines: October 25th, 2000

Six departments together with agencies in the public, private and voluntary sectors are being brought together to support teenagers in the Connexions initiative. Connexions is an advice and guidance service for all 13 to 19 year olds. It will provide an improved universal careers advice service as well as giving teenagers extra help and support to prepare for the transition to work and adult life.One of its objectives will be encouraging more young people to stay in education or training, so that an increasing number have the qualifications they need for further education or the world of work. The new service has been designed to prevent teenagers falling though the gaps between the various support services. Two out of three children in care fail to get more than one GCSE. Currently nearly a third of all young people drop out or fail to achieve their learning goal in full-time education creating a lost generation of young people outside education, training or work.

Under the Connexions initiative, a personal advisor will be allocated to every teenager, offering careers advice, as well as help over issues such as drugs and homelessness. Advisors will be based primarily in schools, but will also be found in High Street centres.

The Connexions partnerships have been piloted successfully and full scale implementation will start in sixteen areas in April 2001. Partnerships will be progressively extended to the whole of the UK in the next three years.