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Youth Employment

Volume 570: debated on Monday 18 November 2013

The Government are not only creating job opportunities. In the last quarter, youth employment was up by 50,000. That shows that our approach is working. We are providing young people with the support that is needed, including work experience and apprenticeships.

North Hertfordshire college in Stevenage has developed a range of learning companies in which students work while they gain their qualifications. We have seen an increase in the number of job offers for students who are learning in that way. Does the Minister agree that learning companies offer opportunities for young people, in partnership with local employers?

I do agree with my hon. Friend. If people come together to create opportunities that turn into jobs, that is welcomed by the Department. We are leading the way and have put down a strategy that enables people to work in partnership.

Does the Minister recognise that her response to that question sounded a bit complacent? Will she consider how we can build a better relationship among employers and further education colleges, schools and universities? Is it not time that she spoke to her colleagues in the Department for Education and brought a careers service back into our schools?

If I gave the impression of being complacent, I am sorry, but I am certainly not. I know the size of the job that the Government have to do to help all the youth out there. We are doing that job and will continue to do it as best we can. We do talk to other Departments. There is a duty on head teachers to provide careers guidance in their schools. We have a National Careers Service at Jobcentre Plus. We can work with schools to ensure that children have the best careers advice.

17. In my constituency, youth unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since before the last election. Will the Minister join me in paying tribute to the excellent partnership in my constituency between MidKent college and ActivKids, which improves the job prospects of young people? (901084)

I join my hon. Friend in celebrating that success. I know that it is something in which he takes much interest and that he has helped greatly. I hope to hear many more stories like that from across the UK.