Graduation plan for `lost generation'

EVERY TEENAGER should graduate in the American style by the age of 19, David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, said yesterday. He was announcing proposals to rescue a "lost generation" of 161,000 16 to 18-year-olds who have dropped out of education, training and employment.

In this country, students have traditionally graduated from university; in America, they graduate from high school.

American pupils do not have to reach a particular standard to graduate, but Mr Blunkett wants young people to achieve five good GCSEs, or the vocational equivalent, before they receive a graduation certificate.

He is also proposing a new "youth card" offering discounts on travel, leisure facilities and in shops to persuade teenage drop-outs to acquire qualifications.

At present only 73 per cent of 19-year-olds would qualify for the certificate. The Government has set a target of 85 per cent for 2002.

A report from the Social Exclusion Unit, set up by the Prime Minister to find answers to social problems, shows that one in 11 young people between the ages of 16 and 18 is not involved in training, work or education.

The proportion of this lost generation is higher than in most other European countries. A further 300,000 are in dead-end jobs without formal training. They are said to be more likely than their peers to be depressed, in poor health, involved in crime and drugs and to have children.

The report proposes a register of all school leavers to enable advisers in a new careers service to keep track of vulnerable pupils. ll young people will have personal careers advice from the age of 13. From September, ministers are also piloting educational maintenance allowances of up to pounds 50 to encourage teenagers to continue in education.

The Prime Minister, who yesterday hosted a seminar at Downing Street on teenage drop-outs, said: "First, we want to look at ways of giving all young people a challenging common objective to aim for. Second, we must make it worthwhile for young people to stay in education. Third, we must provide better support."

During the seminar, he met two 22-year-olds who explained how they became alienated from education and left school without qualifications.

Baroness Blackstone, the Education minister, said: "These are wasted years for them [young people] and they will find themselves on the fast- track to social exclusion, marginalised and without any opportunity for permanent fulfilling work and most likely to get caught up in crime. This is a high cost for society but a second high cost results because so many of them end up on benefit."

The report suggests that young people would secure their graduation certificates either in full-time education, in vocational education or by studying while at work. It also proposes a review of financial support for individuals in the age group. At present eight different agencies pay for eight different kinds of support.

Ministers also promised that young offenders would be required to undertake 30 hours of education or training a week to ensure they started, or continued, to work towards graduation.

Mr Blunkett is asking the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to work on the concept of "graduation" and a graduation certificate.

Anne McElvoy, Review, page 3

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Sales Advisor - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telephone Sales Advisor is re...

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker - OTE £20,000

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An office based Appointment Mak...

Recruitment Genius: Healthcare Assistant

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This provider of care services is looking for...

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Administrator

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Purpose of Role: To co-ordinate maintena...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent