To ask Her Majesty's Government what forecast they have made of the number of 16 and 17 year-olds who are not in education, employment or training who are expected to take up the offer of a guaranteed place in learning when the new scheme commences in 2010. [HL435]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what incentives they will make available to 16 and 17 year-olds not in education, employment, or training to encourage them to take up the offer of a guaranteed place in learning when the new scheme starts in 2010. [HL436]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the guaranteed place in learning offered to 16 and 17 year-olds who are not in education, employment, or training which starts in 2010 will be available throughout the United Kingdom. [HL437]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the planned cost of the new scheme to guarantee places in learning for 16 and 17 year-olds not in education, employment, or training starting in 2010; and for how many years the scheme will be maintained. [HL438]
To ask Her Majesty's Government which department is to take the lead in the proposal to offer a guaranteed place in learning to 16 and 17 year-olds not in education, employment or training. [HL439]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultations they undertook before announcing the new scheme starting in 2010 to offer a guaranteed place in learning to 16 and 17 year-olds not in education, employment or training. [HL440]
We are determined to ensure that every young person who is not in education, employment or training (NEET) is given an opportunity to engage in learning so that they can develop the skills they will need for the upturn. We will be publishing shortly our strategy to increase the proportion of 16 to 24 year-olds in education, employment or training. Investing in Potential sets out the decisive action we have already taken to strengthen existing provision and new support to help young people engage in learning and work.
The January Guarantee is one element of this, and will ensure that all 16 and 17 year-olds who are NEET in January 2010 have the offer of an Entry to Employment place. The Department for Children, Schools and Families will lead this initiative for young people in England. Education and training matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been devolved to the relevant administrations.
The September Guarantee, of an offer of a suitable place in education or training, was implemented for 16 year-old school leavers in 2007 and extended to 17 year-olds in 2008. This has helped to support record levels of participation by both age groups. But, young people may become NEET throughout the year, with January a month when seasonal employment and short courses come to an end, and when young people realise that their initial choice was not right for them. Ongoing consultation with local authorities, Connexions providers and the Learning and Skills Council has highlighted the difficulty that young people can have in re-engaging in learning at this time and the department has already asked the Learning and Skills Council to make more courses available for young people becoming NEET in January.
That is why we are extending the September Guarantee approach to 16 and 17 year-olds who are NEET in January to allow these young people to re-engage quickly in positive and productive learning, remaining motivated and engaged and reducing the risk of long-term disengagement.
Information provided by Connexions shows that there were around 60,000 16 and 17 year-olds NEET in January 2009. Many of these young people will already have a job or a place in learning to start in January, but we have estimated that the guarantee will draw an additional 10,000 16 and 17 year-olds into learning. Young people who are otherwise eligible will be offered education maintenance allowance to incentivise participation.
A funding package of £40 million is being made available to provide the additional 10,000 places, support for young people from Connexions Services, and education maintenance allowance. We will continue to monitor the economic and employment situation to ensure that we respond constructively to the needs of young people in the current economic climate.