ASCL comment on Lords committee’s youth unemployment report

26/11/2021
Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the report, ‘Skills for every young person’, from the House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee.
 
Commenting on the report, ‘Skills for every young person’, from the House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee, Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We’re stuck in a wretched cycle of high levels of youth unemployment while at the very same time there are skills gaps and shortages in industry which damage the country’s economic prosperity. The Covid pandemic has clearly made this situation even worse, especially for young people but also for some groups of adults. It is very obvious that something must change in order to ensure that more young people and adults have the skills needed by industry.
 
“This report on youth unemployment makes sensible suggestions of a fresh look at the curriculum, better access to high-quality careers education and advice, and an improved funding system for further education, among other recommendations. The details of exactly how this might be done are debatable but the focus is correct, and the government should take heed. Ministers talk a lot about a skills revolution but in reality the government has starved further education of sufficient funding, undervalued its contribution, dismantled the national infrastructure for careers advice, and relentlessly driven the value of a traditional academic curriculum at the expense of vocational and technical skills.
 
“The government is setting great store by the introduction of T-levels to improve matters, and we welcome these new qualifications, although not at the expense of successful qualifications such as BTECs. But this strategy doesn’t go nearly far enough, and simply has to be backed up with a significant improvement to 16-19 funding and a wider, not narrower, qualification offer to young people.”