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ConneXions strategy for young adult learners


The DfEE has announced advance information on its ConneXions strategy for young adult learners:-

Key points:

- The Target 2000 manifesto pledge stated that all young people should be on the road to a qualification.

- The New National Learning Targets for England (announced on 28 October 1998) further reinforced this aim. By 2002 the aim is that 85% of 19 year olds will hold a level 2 qualification by 2002.

- In the June 99 White Paper, Learning to Succeed, the Government announced an enhanced strategy called ConneXions - "for making sure that far more young people continue in education and training until they are at least 19". This will build on current initiatives including:

* ensuring young people have the help, support and guidance that will raise their aspirations and tackle any personal and family problems standing in the way. We will make this support continuous from age 13-19 through dedicated personal advisers, building on the Learning Mentors we announced in Excellence in Cities. For some, that will mean reaching out and bringing them back into learning. To do this, we will be introducing progressively from September 1999, a Learning Gateway for 16 and 17 year olds who need extra guidance and support to benefit from mainstream learning. Central to this will be the development of a network of personal advisers;

* encouraging employees aged 16-17, who did not achieve good qualifications at school, to take advantage of the new right to study or train for approved qualifications, with the support of their employer, so that they may take their place in the workforce of the future. Over half the 16-17 years olds not staying on in learning are in jobs without training;

* ensuring that the range of qualifications and courses is attractive and motivating, both to individuals and to employers. This will include broadening the options that are available at the age of 14, including the new GNVQ Part One, as well as a new qualification aimed at developing key skills in number, communication and information technology for all young people in their transition to adult life;

* building on the best work being done in schools, in colleges and in work based training to drive up quality and standards of delivery across all modes of learning;

* and tackling barriers to learning, including financial barriers. We have just introduced the first significant increase in minimum training allowances for over a decade and are taking significant steps to improve the current financial support available to FE and school sixth form students. As a first step we will be piloting Education Maintenance Allowances from September in 15 LEAs. These pilots will target financial support on young people from low income families who might otherwise be excluded. The results of this pilot will help inform new national arrangements for financial support. We are also considering ways in which we can target more specific help on the most disadvantaged where financial obstacles act as a real barrier to participation.

- Further details of the ConneXions strategy will be announced in Autumn 99.


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