We must inspire our young people if we want to reduce economic inactivity

Economic inactivity  is a major concern, locally, regionally and nationally. This is an issue for which there are no easy answers. If the Council and its partners are to make a difference, new approaches and new ways of working together will need to be found. It is for these reasons that a group of councillors in Swansea have undertaken an in depth inquiry into this challenging topic. One of their main conclusions is that more needs to be done to help raise the aspirations of young people before they come into the jobs market.

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Over the last six months a Scrutiny Inquiry Panel has looked at the issues surrounding this in more depth and they have interviewed professionals from a number of agencies, as well as service users, in order to understand the situation better and to hear their concerns. The report produced by the Scrutiny Inquiry Panel Workless, not Worthless’ provides a number of recommendations, outlining what the Panel believes the Council and its partners can do to help to reduce economic inactivity.

One of the ideas coming out of the inquiry was that higher and further education should be promoted at a younger age in school, so that children learn from an early age that education is for everyone, including them. It is hoped that by instilling the knowledge that success is attainable for everyone and encouraging education beyond the school fence, as well as promoting entrepreneurship amongst young people, many young people, who are currently jobless, or in poorly paid employment, will gain satisfying careers and play an important part in society in the future.

The Panel felt that it would benefit school children if representatives from universities and colleges attended schools to talk to children about further and higher education  and, more importantly, that they inform them so that they realise that further education and higher education are not beyond their reach and that they can aspire to this when they leave school. Also, the Panel felt that better communication between schools, colleges and universities should be encouraged.

Some of the other proposals in the report include:

  1.  Extend apprenticeship schemes beyond the traditional, to include office based and to encourage local employers.
  2. Improve the accessibility of employment opportunities for disabled people and provide better support and services for the generational and long-term unemployed group
  3. Provide incentives and increased support to businesses in relation to recruitment and employment issues;
  4. A ‘Single point of Entry’, in relation to employment opportunities, so that all groups have equal access to available jobs/ training and apprenticeships.
  5. Initiatives with  young people who are considered to be at risk of becoming NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) from an  earlier age.
  6. Regular entrepreneurship events to encourage young people.

 The Council is hoping to tackle economic inactivity with the help of its partners.  The Panel will monitor its proposals  and will feed back its findings in the future, so ‘watch this space’.

 This report may be accessed in the Swansea Scrutiny library (www.swansea.gov.uk/scrutinylibrary)

 Photo credit:http://flic.kr/p/5qpN2Q



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