Memorandum submitted by Unison

 

 

1. Introduction About UNISON

UNISON represents the vast majority of Connexions, Careers and Youth and Community Staff working in the sector. We also have seats on the CWDC and LLUK and the LLUK Careers Panel. Our response draws upon the feedback received from our members working in the field across the UK. Key to the development of a meaningful strategy will be the translation of policy directives into the operational delivery of these. Essential to any major changes is to seek information and advice from the staff on the ground expected to deliver these changes. The sector needs a UK wide coherent approach which the report correctly identifies is lacking.

2. Services and programmes to support those most at risk of becoming "NEET

2.1 One of the major issues being faced by the newly unemployed when accessing help after the Credit Crunch broke was that many who were displaced in the crisis felt help they were accessing was not right for their individual needs and that there was a need for clear points of immediate contact which were relevant to them straight away.

2.2 In the case of 16-19 year olds there are major concerns that the fragmentation of the Connexions Service in England will lead to more pressure on the NEET figures. The failure to protect staffing budgets is having an adverse effect on the targeted work which was having such a positive result before the credit crunch.

 

2.3 The economic downturn has had a negative effect on the NEET figures for 16-19 year olds. Anyone who has not secured a place by the end of the summer has found it very difficult to move on to a positive outcome. In effect, the "September Guarantee" has not been met this year in a significant number of places.

 

2.4 The increase in NEET'S, has to a certain extent been masked by the growth in numbers participating in further education at 16. This has been the major factor which has dissipated the massive decline in opportunities in apprenticeships and work based learning places.

 

2.5 For those in NEET after reaching 19, the case for the Government to introduce its training and job initiatives cannot be stressed highly enough. However, any schemes need to be closely matched with the needs of the economy of the future and should also be linked closely with the operation of Adult Guidance provision.

 

 

2.6 Closer and more formalised working arrangements between schools and colleges and Connexions providers would still prove beneficial to the pre and post 19 year old age groups. But this must be backed up by adequate advisory resources and educational and training provision.

December 2009