Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I'm unsure about the 'neet' solution...

As a general rule I am against bribing companies to act as you want them to, everyone responds to incentives, however I don't feel that giving them money to do as you want is always the best way to go about things.  I've only just read The Guardian's report on Nick Clegg's announcement of a £126m scheme to encourage employers to take on more NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training)  16 and 17 year olds.

My fundamental problem with this scheme however, is that it doesn't seem to be creating any additional opportunities, just bribing companies to fill vacancies with a specific type of applicant, therefore not leaving a level playing field for everyone (and the same amount of people are still out of work!).  The minimum wage for 16-17 year olds is already lower than that for 18 - 20 year olds after which time it rises even more - so there is already a financial incentive for companies to take on these people.  Providing even more of such an incentive risks hindering older generations who also need an income (and frankly may need the money more depending on personal circumstances).

Obviously I don't think the Government should just be abandoning these youngsters - far from it, however I'd prefer it if these funds were put into giving these youngsters skills so that they have something to offer employers (or even to set up on their own!)  It is pointless just helping them get a job if it's just for the sake of it, by providing training opportunities they can be targeted in the areas that need it most (the North West I believe has the highest growth in NEETs), making the person more mobile and hopefully not just help them to find one job but give them more chances in future as well.  I know this is a fantasy regarding training and often people end up with skills that aren't in demand, but that's why I think they need to be targeted better (at what is needed) and those with the most will to succeed will benefit the most.

The goal has to be to stop as many teenagers as possible reaching this position in the first place.  Things that will help this are the Pupil Premium that the Liberal Democrats have championed and the Government is putting into action and as I said at the time (Nick announced it in his conference speech) I also feel the idea of a summer school could also be beneficial to help with the transition from Primary to Secondary school to try and ensure that no child is left behind.  We wont see the potential benefit of these policies until the next government is in place, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a good thing!


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  2. I agree completely! I came across this while looking for an image for a NEET themed blog about a talk I gave recently...can I borrow yours, or is it copyrighted by someone else?

    Many thanks