It's a shocking fact that just under one million young people are not in work, education or training in the UK today. That's about one in six of all 16 to 24-year-olds. Of these, a third have been out of work and claiming Job Seekers Allowance for more than six months.
These young people risk starting their adult lives with no experience of the world of work. This is a massive waste of talent.
As anyone who's seen a ten-year-old fix a bike or build a website will know, natural ability comes in many different forms. However, when many young people reach 16 they're often railroaded into yet more academic learning, regardless of where their talent lies. For the quarter of a million who leave school each year without five good GCSEs, this may not be the best option.
One issue facing young people trying to find their direction in life is that the careers guidance they receive isn't often up to scratch.
Last year, the Government transferred responsibility for delivering careers guidance away from local authority run services such as Connexions. They passed it on to schools and a mixture of web and phone-based services instead such as the National Careers Service (NCS) and Plotr websites.
However, as Barnardo's Helping the Inbetweeners report has highlighted, these remote services often don't reach young people because they simply don't know they exist. This is especially so for those who may have low qualifications and be disengaged from school but don't qualify for extra support because they're not classified as being the most 'at risk' by local authorities.
Young people also told us that their school provides few face-to-face sessions and, in some cases none at all. Disengaged pupils reported that they'd missed sessions or felt unable to trust the careers guidance given by schools, as they assumed the advice would be prejudiced.
Even when young people are aware of vocational options, such as apprenticeships, they may be put off by too-high entry requirements. Or they may need extra boosts to their learning if they've failed Maths or English GCSEs.
Barnardo's currently knows from experience that young people want to get skills and work, yet struggle to get on the first rung of the jobs ladder.
Barnardo's delivers 28 UK services to help in the region of 5,500 young people each year fulfil their ambitions in the workplace, regardless of where they started in life. We walk side-by-side with them on the journey from school to workplace from helping them choose a career direction to finding an apprenticeship.
We work with local employers and partners to arm young people with the crucial skills they need for high quality, sustainable career. And we help the most marginalised young people gain the extra life and study skills they need to put them onto the first rung of the jobs ladder.
For young people, the road to secure and long-term employment is a journey as individual as the person undertaking it. With the right support, every young person should be able to navigate towards a rewarding and sustainable career of their choice - regardless of where they started out.
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