[holding answer 16 September 2009]: We are determined to ensure that as many young people as possible continue their learning beyond the age of 16 to get the qualifications and experience they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive labour market.
Through the September Guarantee, we are providing every young person aged 16-17 with a suitable offer of a place in learning. This has helped us to make excellent progress on participation, with a record level of 88 per cent. of 16-17 year olds in education and training at the end of 2008. Additional investment of £655 million allocated in Budget 2009 has enabled the number of post-16 learning places available this academic year to increase to all time high of 1.55 million. Young people also have access to a range of financial support such as the education maintenance allowance to help them engage in learning.