Letter: Back to the Old Deal

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The Independent Online
THERE appears to be a large hole in the Government's policy towards young people, through which the nation's wealth and talent are rapidly disappearing.

Tens of thousands of pounds of tax-payers' money are spent on each child's education until they are 16. When young people reach 18 they have the "New Deal", a scheme whereby tax-payers' money is used to "buy" temporary jobs for long-term unemployed youngsters.

These long-term unemployed are the ones who left school two years earlier to discover there was virtually nothing available to them in the way of jobs and training. Having been forced to squander the most valuable and influential two years of their working lives, they are then forced into a stop-gap, dead-end job.

It is unfortunate for the Government that the only tool it has available to tackle youth training problems is taxpayers' money. As an alternative it could consider transferring the whole of the youth training programme to the private sector and using the old apprenticeship format, a scheme of the highest order that catered for all school-leavers. That would be a New Deal, and a much better deal.

R HUMPHREY

Maidenhead, Berkshire

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