No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

New ‘Connexions’ service to advise 13-19 year olds



3 February 2000

Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett today unveiled a radical new youth support service for all 13-19 year olds. It will be known as Connexions.

Connexions will be phased in from 2001 and piloted round the country. The first five pilots will be in Coventry and Warwickshire; Devon and Cornwall; Lewisham; Hampshire and Humberside. There will also be a Connexions freephone line piloted in the North-East soon.

The service will integrate existing careers advice and support services for young people into a coherent and improved framework. It will create a single point of access for young people to currently fragmented service provision - currently young people can deal with up to eight different agencies. Personal advisers will be available to give advice and guidance on learning and careers choices and to help young people overcome any barriers to successful transitions into adult life.

Mr Blunkett said:
" At present just under a third of young people drop out or fail to achieve their learning goal in full-time education. These wrong career paths cost an estimated £350 million. The social costs can be enormous, in unemployment and crime. Wrong choices often lead to wasted lives. We must reduce the proportion of young people not in education, training or work below the current level of 9%.
" Connexions will integrate and rationalise current advisory and support services into a coherent framework of support, anchored in a single point of contact offered by personal advisors. Support will be available according to need - whether it is for gifted and talented pupils, those who just want better careers guidance, or the vulnerable and disconnected, who instead of being passed from pillar to post, will now have an advisor with whom the buck stops.

" Connexions will keep all young people on track in learning throughout their teenage years, whatever their abilities or backgrounds. At the heart of the service will be access to dedicated personal advisers who will be responsible for ensuring that young people who need it get support and advice in an integrated and coherent way.

The personal adviser will:

* provide advice, guidance and support, including to family members who approach them;
* be an advocate for the young person;
* be a single point of access to all specialist support services, if needed; and
* where required, build a long term one to one relationship with the young person.

"The role of personal advisers will be preventative and not merely for use in times of crisis. They will provide advice on leisure and personal issues and not just careers and would provide a gateway to other support service

"For example, one young person might have chosen the wrong A-levels and need guidance about their options. Another young person may have a combination of personal and family problems. The personal adviser will put together a package of specialist support to help them through. Partnership with families, schools, colleges statutory services, employers and voluntary and community organisations will be key to the process.

"Connexions is a comprehensive and coherent strategy with a major new Service at its heart. It will bring together Government Departments and agencies at national and local levels, with local delivery through a unique combination of statutory and voluntary organisations. Its aim will be to:

* increase participation in learning up to the age of 19;
* help improve learning achievement at all levels of ability;
* prevent the onset of disaffection and promote social inclusion;
* provide practical support to overcome personal family or social obstacles;

" The personal advisers will help ease the transition from adolescence to adulthood and will build on the new mentoring services now flourishing in the Excellence in Cities programme.

" Young people themselves will be involved in the design and delivery of the Service, through local consultation. We will also be setting up national and regional youth fora to help us develop the policy, as we want flexible local delivery, building on the best of existing services and adapting to local needs.

" Connexions will be tested and developed in a series of pilots. The first five will be in Coventry and Warwickshire; Devon and Cornwall; Lewisham; Hampshire; and Humberside, and we shall shortly be announcing more. There will be at least one in each region in England, involving a wide range of voluntary, community and private sector organisations, and Government Departments.

" In order to fulfil young people’s expectations and aspirations we are making sure that there is a flexible range of subjects, qualifications and ways of studying relevant to both the individual and to their future employers. We are giving more young people the chance to go to university. We are also overhauling the delivery of further education and training through the new Learning and Skills Council.

" The learning on offer must be of the highest quality, whether in school, college or in work-based learning. We are introducing tough new area-wide inspections for all further education and training to ensure high standards.

"But with rights come responsibilities. Young people need to stick with what is on offer. For example, we are tackling the financial barriers to learning by piloting Education Maintenance Allowances, where payment is rigorously linked to attendance and effort. Early signs from the 15 pilot areas are that they have helped many young people to stay in education and in many cases improved their level of commitment. All this should dramatically improve achievement rates."


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!