Matt Grist talks to Channel 4 about proposals to reform the structure of school holidays.
The recent recession has had a big impact on young people’s employment prospects. The youth labour market is a daunting prospect for school-leavers: at the beginning of 2010, some 18.4 per cent of young people under the age of 25 were unemployed. Even as the economy recovers, the financial crisis risks leaving a ‘lost generation’ of young people out of work.
This is within the context of more young people entering university after leaving school and an outgoing Government that has focused on securing university attendance of 50% of young people. But are universities adequately preparing students for the world of work? And are there alternative, effective ways into work for non-graduates?
Demos’ new project, funded by the Private Equity Foundation, aims to map the extent to which our education system is adequately preparing young people, particularly non-graduates, for the post-recession labour market. The project will focus on school-to-work transition: how our education and training systems prepare young people for employment; what skills young people need and where and how they can acquire these; and how institutional arrangements help them make the right choices about pursuing their aims, aspirations and ambitions.
The project will explore examples of best practice in England, as well as what can be learned from international education systems and programmes focused on school-to-work transitions. We will investigate the attitudes of British businesses to young people, and the role the private sector can play in helping prepare young people for work. Finally, we will examine what systemic reforms are needed to our education and careers systems in England in order to enable principles of good practice to flourish.
The research methodology will include an extensive literature review of the existing evidence around youth unemployment and school-to-work transition models, to identify key lessons for the UK from examples of good practice. The review will also consider international evidence from comparable countries such as Germany, Denmark and Canada that have proved more successful at engaging young people in the labour market.
We will perform detailed case studies examining school-to-work transitions in two contrasting areas of England, looking at four secondary schools in each area. This will involve workshops with young people, semi-structured interviews with teachers responsible for careers provision, mapping local youth labour markets, including interviews with local employers and semi-structured interviews of local young people with experience of services like Job Centre Plus and Connexions.
Finally, we will undertake an in-depth visit of a case study outside of the UK in order to examine examples of good practice within a well-performing system. This will include interviews with policymakers, practitioners delivering such programmes, and young people who have benefited from them.
This pamphlet explores the school to work transitions of the 50 per cent of young people who don't go to university.