Employment: Under 25s
House of Lords
Lord Storey (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they plan to improve the life chances of 18-24 year-olds in Liverpool, in the light of the rise in the percentage of those aged 18-24 claiming jobseekers' allowance between 2008 and 2012.
Baroness Wilcox (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Business, Innovation and Skills; Conservative)
Improving educational standards and enabling young people to make a smooth transition from education into sustainable employment is the most important way in which the Government can support the life chances of young people, in Liverpool and across the country.
Alongside the Government's existing plans to raise the age of compulsory participation in education or training to 17 in 2013 and 18 in 2015, increase the number of apprenticeship opportunities, and reform vocational education, we have introduced a youth contract worth almost £1 billion. This provides incentives for employers who recruit an 18-24 year-old through the Work Programme, incentives to encourage employers to take on 16-24 year old apprentices, more intensive support from Jobcentre Plus advisers and an offer of work experience or a sector-based work academy place to unemployed 18-24 year olds on jobseeker's allowance. For the longer-term unemployed, the Government's Work Programme provides young people with personalised support and training to help them into sustainable employment.
We provide full government funding for young people aged 19 to 24 to gain English and maths qualifications; their first full level 2 and first full level 3 qualifications. Learners in receipt of jobseekers allowance or employment support allowance (in the Work-Related Activity Group) can also receive full government funding for pre-employment training. Further education providers also have local discretion to provide fully subsidised courses for people on a wider range of benefits where the training is designed to help them enter employment.
Furthermore, in April this year we launched the National Careers Service which will help young people and adults make informed and positive choices about their career paths.
The Plan for Growth sets out the Government's economic policy objective to achieve strong and sustainable growth that is more evenly balanced across the country and between industries. Our Core Cities initiative is designed to develop innovative ways to boost economic growth in England's eight largest cities, including Liverpool. Also, an additional £l billion has been allocated for a further round of the Regional Growth Fund taking the total to be invested to £2.4 billion.