Election countdown brings AELP call for more joined-up policy on youth unemployment

Greater integration of government policy on youth unemployment is among the priorities for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) as outlined in its updated manifesto, released today.

The document, out on the first day of the AELP’s two-day annual conference in London, takes stock of priorities and outlines key areas of sector debate in the run-up to next year’s general election.

It calls for increased flexibility and more joined-up working between the departments for work and pensions, education and business, innovation and skills on initiatives such as work programmes, support for troubled families, work choice, traineeships and apprenticeships.

The manifesto says: “The 1m unemployed young people must have access to the highest quality support including real work experience with real employers and success should be measured by getting them into sustainable employment.

“There are many programmes to support unemployed young people including traineeships and the youth contract. We will continue to push for more flexibility in delivery and more integration of programmes.”

Employment Minister Esther McVey and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock are expected to address the conference, at Hammersmith Novotel, today with Shadow Skills Minister Liam Byrne due to speak tomorrow.

Stewart Segal, AELP chief executive, (pictured) said: “As the economy begins to grow, we have to keep the focus on employment and skills.

“People with low skills need support to ensure they can be part of the drive for growth and traineeships and apprenticeships will be vital to delivering the higher skills we need to sustain that growth. Training providers will be a key part of that solution.

“Skills and employment providers engage with employers across the country on a daily basis and the AELP national conference will illustrate why we are in a position to put forward positive policy recommendations which will benefit both individuals and employers.”

The event, chaired by broadcaster and former political editor Cathy Newman, will review a number of issues such as careers information for young people, the development of traineeships and apprenticeship reforms.

Mr Segal said: “The conference is a great opportunity to hear the views of training providers and their employers about the impact of the apprenticeship changes.

“Many employers have expressed real concerns about some elements of the reforms and we hope this will be an opportunity to explore solutions. We have already recommended radical approaches which are based on giving employers real choices.”

The conference is also due to host a debate on apprenticeship reforms tomorrow when Jason Holt, of the Holts jewellery group and author of the original government review of apprenticeships, will offer his views on how reform proposals have developed.

The event is further expected to hear from Graham Stuart, chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, about ongoing concerns surrounding the quality of careers advice offered to pupils in England’s schools.