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How can young people be best prepared for the world of work?


The House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility has published its call for evidence. The Committee, appointed to investigate the transition from school to work for young people, is investigating the complex choices young people are faced with when considering career options.

The economy is changing and employers demand more and more from their young recruits, meaning that young people without a degree are often put at the bottom of the pile. Much work has already been done on those who take the A-Level and university route, and on those who are classified as not in employment, education or training (NEETs). There are, however, those who fall between these two groups. This group of young people are particularly vulnerable in the labour market. They often study less recognised qualifications (such as NVQs, HNCs, HNDs, BTECs, tech levels, applied general qualifications, or diplomas) and not much is known about who they are.

The Committee wants to know who is in this group, why they are in this position and what can be improved to help them, and all young people, gain good quality employment.

Alongside the Committee's call for evidence, is a survey for 14-24 year olds. The survey asks those who are faced with (or who have recently been faced with) this complex decision to share their experiences with the Committee, and can be found on the Committee's website.

Baroness Corston, Chair of the Committee, said:

“The current generation of young people has the worse chances in recent memory of being able to enter the workforce successfully. In the context of rising inequality in the UK, we all have a responsibility to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy a career for which they are properly equipped.

“Recently, focus has been placed on those who study A-levels and who are able to go on to university, and those who are not in education, employment or training at all. We want to look at the group that falls between these two categories. They are often known as the ‘missing' middle, and could make up as much as 50 per cent or half of all of 16-19 year olds – if not more. Too little attention has been given to this group for too long, and we hope to establish with our inquiry what this group needs by talking to businesses, experts and most importantly, young people.

“If you are involved in further education, businesses involved in apprenticeships, careers guidance, or any other body or organisation which works with this age group, we want to hear from you. And we want you to encourage the young people you work with to complete our questionnaire. After all, this inquiry is about them – we want to make it as easy as possible for them to let us hear their voices.”

Questions the Committee are particularly keen to answer from the call for evidence include:

  • What are the most significant factors that affect the social mobility and employment outcomes of young people in the transition from school into the work place?
  • What is known about young people who do not do A-Levels but are not NEET? How does the current system support this group?
  • How can the transition from school to work be improved for all young people, particularly for those who do not study A-Levels and higher education?
  • Who should be responsible for improving the system to support the school to work transition phase?

Baroness Corston has also recorded a YouTube video, which can be embedded in third party websites.

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