We read in the news today that young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs) have reached just over 1 million. The 1,163,000 young people aged 16-24 are the real cost of the government’s failure to seriously address youth joblessness. Yorkshire and Humberside, the region hurt worst by the cuts in EMA, is also the region which has seen the biggest rise in young people being let down by the government’s inaction. 33,000 more young people are being denied the chance of a stable future.
As I said earlier this month in the House of Commons, education is the right of all young people. I have long been an advocate of training for both skilled and yet to be trained young people. In a challenge to the Employment Minister Chris Grayling MP sent 17th April 2011, I called for substantive policies that would reduce youth unemployment.
I believe that every drop out from any kind of learning is a terrible failure. It is the government’s duty to do more than the promises it has made today to “take action now to address this issue”. Specific plans to fight this failing is what is required. Young people with higher standards of skills have better job prospects and fewer reasons to disengage with society. The August Riots were in my opinion, an unnecessary display of violence and disregard for the law. However the right response is to correct the view held by many people that they have nothing to contribute and that they are not responsible citizens.
It is my hope that the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement this Friday, on a plan for youth employment will produce practical policies that will use work opportunities as means for giving young people an identity in their communities. Following Mr Clegg’s announcement, I intend to respond with specific questions as to how his own Sheffield constituency and our region of Yorkshire and Humberside, will benefit from the job plans .