Hidden talents II: re-engaging young people, the local offer

Reducing youth disengagement is a priority for local government. There is a lot to be positive about. Councils, colleges, employers and national agencies are developing new models that have real impact on young people by joining up and targeting services. We are proud of this work, but to tackle increasing long-term youth disengagement, want to incentivise these successful approaches across the country.

In this report we make an offer. Learning from what is working locally to incentivise a new era of collaboration between local and national services, we propose local authorities and their partners:

  • become the default commissioners of all programmes seeking to reengage the most disengaged young people up to 24 years old
  • lead in setting local and sub-regional priorities for 16-24 skills provision, driven by employer demand in local labour markets, and linked to pre-16 provision
  • co-design, with Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers, joint packages and employment programmes for hardest to reach young people, effectively docking local and national programmes
  • commission wage subsidies announced as part of the Youth Contract, engaging SMEs and targeting young people with most to gain from public subsidies.

We believe in this approach. Based on the evidence of what some local partnerships are achieving, a devolved model across all areas has the potential to reduce youth unemployment by 20 per cent, delivering savings of £1.25 billion every year to the exchequer.