Headlines: December 4th, 2000

The New Deal for Young People, aged 18-24, has moved 250,000 off welfare and into work. This is the target figure for one of the Government’s five key manifesto pledges. Youth unemployment is now at its lowest level since the mid seventies.Young people joining New Deal first enter a Gateway period lasting up to 4 months, during which time the Employment Service work with them to improve their employability and search for unsubsidised jobs. Those who do not find a job then move to subsidised or voluntary work or full time training or education.

The scheme has personal advisers who help the young people to develop potential and provide practical help such as a suit for an interview or a bike to get to work. Others are helped to launch their Internet start-up company or their first music contract or even to become a James Bond look-alike!

The New Deal has been put on a permanent footing because unemployment is still high in some areas and there is still a need to help more people move into jobs. There are also plans to develop it further by extending the scope to include partners of unemployed people.

The effectiveness of New Deal will be boosted by the Learning and Skills Councils due to be launched in April 2001. Members have now been appointed to the 47 Councils across England. With a wide responsibility for all training and education post 16, they are expected to develop new ways to help individuals and employers who do not currently engage in education and training. They aim to bring back into learning those who the system may have failed, by reaching out to them, and developing training that is more suitable to their individual needs.