Our CEO, Barry Fletcher, responds to the Spring Budget

Mar 7, 2024

We welcome the Government’s focus on growth, aiming to improve wages and create a high skill economy, but more needs to be done to ensure that young people can benefit from the opportunities that growth creates.

Recent ONS data shows that 851,000 young people are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET), with an increasing number of young people experiencing the scarring effects of being left out of opportunities to earn or learn long-term. We must tackle the youth employment challenge by working to prevent young people from becoming NEET and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from our economy. 

We have identified three key evidence-based recommendations the Government can action to help tackle this challenge and ensure all young people have the opportunity and support they need to access the world of work:

  • Building on the investments made in the Autumn Statement, the Government should go further to tackle the youth mental health crisis with a twin track approach, providing funding as soon as possible to support provision for those with the most complex needs and accelerating the roll-out of Mental Health Support Teams in education settings so young people can access early support where and when they need it.
  • Create a step-change in care leavers employment by investing in a ‘care leavers employer support package’, increasing financial support available to employers of young care leaver apprentices to £3,000 and creating a new Kickstart-style scheme for young care leavers, taking concrete action to address the barriers facing some of our most vulnerable young people.
  • To boost apprenticeship opportunities for young people, the Government should provide more financial support for employers, including by removing the 5% co-investment requirement for non-Levy paying employers towards the cost of training apprentices under 25. To drive accountability, targets should be set on apprenticeship starts and completions for young people, including targets focused on particular groups facing disadvantage or discrimination.

To address the national NEET challenge, Youth Futures Foundation is working with the Government and other partners through our new Building Futures programme, funded by the Dormant Assets scheme awarded by DCMS. The programme aims to develop and test a package of targeted support for young people aged 14-16 at risk of becoming NEET and build evidence of what works to address these barriers. You can find out more about the programme here.

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