Bad behaviour and poor opportunities hold young people back

Too many disadvantaged young people are being held back from
education or the jobs market by a lack of qualifications, substance
abuse, bad behaviour or a criminal record, according to research
published by the Prince’s Trust, writes Clare

While 14-17 year olds are optimistic about their chances of
getting well paid jobs, these ambitions quickly disappear when they
face the reality of low-paid, low-skilled jobs or training

The trust’s chief executive Sir Tom Shebbeare highlights
that more than 600,000 16 to 24 year olds are not in education,
training or employment and 579,000 are claiming unemployment
benefit, representing 20 per cent of this age group.

“This research not only shows that many of these young
people are facing significant barriers, but – crucially
– they aren’t picked up soon enough, while there is a
realistic prospect of getting their lives back on track,” he

The report, based on interviews with 900 of the UK’s
‘hardest to reach’ 14-25-year-olds identifies critical
points where statutory and non-statutory services should be doing
more to prevent further disaffection.

These points include when children leave education or care, when
young offenders are released from prison and when young mothers are
ready to return to employment. If disadvantaged young people are
not supported at these key stages, it becomes the entry point for
social exclusion, it argues.

The report recommends that incentives to remain in education
must be improved while a more flexible education system is required
for those forced outside mainstream education, such as teenage

Intervention programmes should target young offenders leaving
prison to prevent them returning to drugs, and re-offending while
childcare provision should be extended to ensure parenthood is not
seen as a barrier by single mothers.

Breaking Barriers? Reaching the Hardest to

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