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
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power