Autumn Statement: Osborne confirms plans to tackle youth unemployment

Chancellor George Osborne confirmed a number of policies designed to put tackle youth unemployment during his Autumn Statement yesterday.

Mr Osborne emphasised a Youth Contract worth over £940 million that will offer young people on Jobseekers Allowance work experience, apprenticeships and jobs.

“Private sector work experience for every young person unemployed for three months,” the Chancellor said.

“After nine months, we will help pay for a job or an apprenticeship in a private business. Some 200,000 people will be helped in this way.”

The Youth Contract reinforces the government’s committment to funding wage incentives of £2,275 for 160,000 young people, as well as an additional 40,000 incentive payments to encourage small firms to take on a young apprentice.

The Autumn Statement, published as a report by the Treasury, states there will also be a new programme, funded by £50 million each year, to support the most disadvantaged 16 to 17 year-olds back into education, an apprenticeship, or a job with training.

The annual report outlines an additional £4.5 million investment over the next two years to “support work experience as part of post-16 learning”.

The Autumn Statement also confirms the £250 million vocational training programme, designed to entice businesses into investing in skills and apprenticeships.

The scheme will be piloted early next year and give eligible employers direct access to public funding, completely bypassing colleges and traditional training providers.

Other plans included the government’s intention to create an improved careers information portal in April 2012 as part of the National Careers Service.

The report says the public will be able to access “up to date, employer sourced information on occupations, progression routes, qualifications and wages.”

The statement also includes a reform of basic numeracy and literacy provision for adults. A new funding method will be implemented focusing on the skills a learner has gained, rather than just the qualification they’ve received.

Mr Osborne also revealed tax changes scheduled for 2012, including a change the way in VAT is levied on universities, colleges and charities when they share services.

There will also be an additional £1.2 billion in capital funding for the Department for Education, with £600 million earmarked for 100 new free schools. The Chancellor said he hopes to see new Maths Free Schools for 16 to 18-year-olds.

For more, see next week’s FE Week.

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