Red tape is holding our youngsters back
political editor A DRIVE to cut the number of young people who are out of work and who have left school without taking up training is being held back by Government red tape, according to the leader of Kent County Council.
Cllr Paul Carter (Con) said that while the council’s programme to develop vocational education and increase apprenticeships was proving a success, it could work even better if Kent controlled the funding. As things stood, too many had “disappeared from the world of learning.”
At the moment, funding for post-16 education is managed by a quango, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). That is being scrapped but will be replaced by other quangos.
Cllr Carter, who was speaking at a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham to showcase KCC’s strategy, said: “The funding mechanism through the Learning and Skills Council is not meeting the needs of young people or meeting the needs of the Kent economy.
“We could make a much better fist of spending the money wisely.”
While Kent has seen the number of so-called Neets, 16to-18-year-olds not in education, employment or training, drop by more than 600 in the last two years, Cllr Carter said more needed to be done.
“There are far too many people who have disappeared from the world of learning and who become bored, feckless and return to crime. If we can get in early and deliver change, there will be a whole range of benefits.”
He said that where schools had developed vocational courses for pupils, such as in Whitstable and Maidstone, the impact had been dramatic.