A new strategy to help young people find jobs that pay fair wages, accompanied by high quality training and better career opportunities, has been developed by a University of Huddersfield professor.
And outlined in a specially-commissioned research report, it is beginning to catch the attention of policy-makers throughout the UK.
After conducting years of funded research into the challenges that face young people dubbed NEET – meaning that they are not in employment, education or training – Prof Robin Simmons has devised the concept of a Youth Resolution designed to tackle an entrenched social problem.
It is described as a “kitemarked partnership between local authorities, employers and education institutions which benefits business, gives young people fair opportunities and helps tackle youth unemployment and drives local growth”.
The Youth Resolution, according to the new report, would be a locally co-ordinated national policy to drive up labour market standards. At its heart would be “a commitment by education and training providers, organisations providing advice and guidance and support services and, perhaps most importantly, employers, to commit to certain material and ethical standards when working with young people.
In 2010, Prof Simmons and his colleagues Dr Ron Thompson and Dr Lisa Russell began work on a £124,000 research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, to investigate the issues surrounding NEET young people. Now a sequence of articles plus a book entitled Education, Work and Social Change, due for publication in May, have begun to present their findings.
The University and College Union (UCU) has also been researching the issue of youth unemployment and it sought advice from Prof Simmons. He developed his concept of a Youth Resolution and the report has now been issued. Co-authored with Dr Thompson, plus Gila Tabrizi and Angela Nartey of the UCU, it is entitled Engaging Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training: The Case for a Youth Resolution.
“The the idea is starting to gather momentum,” said Professor Simmons, who is based in the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Lifelong Learning and Social Justice.
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