Nick has always got how important it is to make sure young people were properly supported. In 2009, he launched his "Lifeboat for a lost generation" when Labour were failing to do anything sensible about youth unemployment.
It was really disheartening to see Ed Miliband and David Cameron bandying statistics around at Prime Minister's Questions the other day. Neither of them gave any impression of actually caring about the young people affected. I'm sure that's not necessarily true, but they simply didn't show it.
Every single young person should have access to either a job or some form of training - they should not be just left, unsupported.
To that end, Nick has been promoting the new Youth Contract which aims to:
- give 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 work experience placements
- at least 20,000 incentive payments to encourage new apprenticeships in England
- more support in job centres and specialised help on applying for jobs
- reaching out to most disengaged 16 and 17 year olds to find the best option for them whether it be back to school, apprenticeships or work placements
It seems to be a good range of measures which will help people in the way that best suits them, rather than a one size fits all programme. It remains to be seen if the wage subsidies will work or whether employers will just get rid of people after 6 months and take someone else on - there needs to be proper safeguards to make sure that doesn't happen. However, Nick explained on BBC Breakfast this morning that employers had said that it was the initial costs of employing someone they needed help with. I want to be sure that any employer exploiting the system will not be given a single penny more of public money.
Let's hope that this set of measures will work and that young people will find it easier to get jobs or training that suits them.
The aim of the Youth Contract is to get every unemployed young person earning or learning again before long term damage is done. “This is a £1bn package and what’s different about it is gets young people into proper, lasting jobs in the private sector. “But it’s a contract, a two-way street: if you sign up for the job, they’ll be no signing on for the dole. You have to stick with it. “Youth unemployment is an economic waste and a slow-burn social disaster. “We can’t lose the skills and talent of our young people – right when we need them most. We can’t afford to leave our young men and women on the scrap heap. We need the next generation to help us build a new economy. “If people are out of work when they’re young they bear the scars for decades. If they have a false start, they might not ever fully catch up. “These are tomorrow’s mothers, fathers and tax-payers. If they end up falling behind our whole society pays the price. “It hasn’t been easy to find £1bn but it is the right thing to do. “We won’t allow the children brought up in the boom to bear the brunt of the bust. The next generation must not pay the price for my generation’s mistakes. So the Coalition Government won’t sit on our hands and let a generation fall behind. “We want to give every young person a reason to get up, a reason to go out, and a reason to feel great at the end of the day. “Despite the huge pressures on the public purse we’re pulling out all the stops.