Re-thinking youth participation for the present and next generation

As we look ahead towards the future, we now stand ready to play an equal part with Government to support an inclusive economic recovery – helping young people to ensure that the next generation doesn’t become a lost ‘pandemic generation’ with scars for years to come.

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Even before the COVID-19 crisis, improving youth participation in education, employment and training was a key priority for councils - not only because of our statutory duties relating to young people, but for its significance to the future workforce for our economy. While youth participation in education and training rates for 16 -18-year olds have hovered around the 86.1 per cent mark the challenge for local government has remained over recent years. We continue to hold statutory duties for the engagement of young people in high quality education and training but lack the appropriate formal levers – power and resources – to undertake these responsibilities effectively. Most of the provision for young people is still nationally commissioned by Whitehall departments without conducting assessments of local need.

Then COVID-19 came along and dealt a heavy blow, disproportionately impacting young people – those in school and colleges, on apprenticeships or in sectors mostly bearing the brunt of the crisis.

The Government’s prompt action and recent announcements of Opportunity Guarantee measures, including the Kickstart Scheme are welcome and will help towards supporting young people through this difficult period. Nonetheless, these can only be successful if they are localised by building on the local intelligence and delivery models, working in partnership with employers and providers.

Councils have already shown how they can respond swiftly to local needs by forging partnerships, adapting provision and delivering advice and support to young people in need at pace.

As we look ahead towards the future, we now stand ready to play an equal part with Government to support an inclusive economic recovery – helping young people to ensure that the next generation doesn’t become a lost ‘pandemic generation’ with scars for years to come.

This is a unique opportunity to be ‘Re-thinking local’ to unlock the full potential of local and national partners across the country to support economic recovery. The Government must work with us in partnership to deliver its recovery ambitions and the forthcoming devolution agenda. Our Work Local model provides a blueprint for devolution of employment and skills.


You can download the full report: "Re-thinking youth participation for the present and future generation: education to employment"