Clegg’s youth jobs scheme ‘bureaucratic and inefficient’

By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent

Last Updated: 4:51PM BST 02/05/2012

Unemployed school-leavers risk “falling through the cracks” of the job market because Nick Clegg’s £1bn Youth Contract is inefficient and bureaucratic, Britain’s biggest vocational exam board has warned.

City & Guilds said there is a “serious danger” of Britain’s one million jobless young people becoming “further disengaged” because of the way the programme is run.

The Deputy Prime Minister only launched the Youth Contract last month amid fears that Britain is facing a crisis in youth unemployment.

The scheme pays businesses more than £2,000 for every 25-year-old they take on, but it has already been criticised for overlapping with 33 other Government funding schemes to help teenagers get work.

Now the exam board has told MPs that it has “concerns over the number of agencies involved in co-ordinating the programme”.

The scheme is managed by local job centres, but jointly co-ordinated by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Business and the Department for Education.

“It would be preferable for the Youth Contract to run though a single agency or Department in order to minimize both bureaucracy and inefficiencies,” City & Guilds said. “We appreciate that this may not be a simple matter to organise but feel that otherwise there is a serious danger of many young people ‘falling though the cracks’ and becoming further disengaged.”

Chris Jones, director-general of City & Guilds, yesterday expressed fears that there is too wide a gap between education and jobs.

“We have to plan how we are going to close those gaps and stop our young people from slipping through the system,” he said.

A report from City & Guilds showed this week that only one in four children have ever visited an employer by the time they leave school.

The charity runs 500 vocational qualifications in 28 areas such as construction, tourism and social care, as well as apprenticeship programmes.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “The Youth Contract will get thousands of unemployed young people earning or learning. Sharing delivery across departments and agencies means we can tailor support to meet a young person’s needs, be it a 16 year old out of education, a 23 year old who has left university or a 19 year old looking for an apprenticeship.

“Everyone involved is working closely together to deliver the Youth Contract so that young people don’t fall through the cracks.”

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

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