Learning and earning routes for young people: a new youth allowance

1.13 million young people are not employed

  • Too many young people do not get support on a career pathway from a school system focused on university as the end goal, and an employment system focused on any job. The result is what some have described as the ‘forgotten 50%’.
  • This has major consequences for social mobility – locking in low earnings and lack of opportunity – and for the economy, contributing to our national shortage of technician level jobs and workers.
  • It is the consequence of shortcomings in our benefit system (focusing on any job to get young people off benefits, rather than long-term career prospects) and our skills system (which focuses on qualifications).
  • Part of the drive to increase the quality of Apprenticeships (such as minimum durations and a greater focus on Level 3 as the baseline standard) also risk the unintended consequence of lifting the ladder out of reach of many young people – lacking a pathway to get to the standard needed for an Apprenticeship.  
  • Traineeships are intended to help provide this pathway, but are underused and many employers are unaware of their existence. Recently NIACE worked with employers in the Humber and Dorset LEP areas to raise their awareness and build links with local training providers. 

100 Day Actions

  • Develop plans for a new Learning & Earning route for young people. This should consider the case for creating a new Youth Allowance for 18-24 year olds, replacing Jobseeker’s Allowance, requiring accredited learning to Level 3 alongside job search and work.
  • Focus on building Traineeships as a gold standard route for those unable to immediately access Apprenticeships. This should include: routing more existing funding into this programme; incentives for employment programmes to refer to them and for progression to Apprenticeships; and high quality standards co-designed with employers.
  • Support Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Authorities to provide more integrated services for young people. For example, through City Deals a number of areas have committed to ensuring all young people have access to a training place or job with training. The Government should offer to align national investment and policy with other areas that wish to do this.
  • Drawing on lessons learnt from our work with LEPs on STEM Traineeships, all LEPs should provide clear pathways to STEM job roles for young people that meet the needs of local employers and the local economy.


Download Ten Policies for Ten People or return back to our proposals page.

In the next in our series of blogs on the ten policies we want the next Government to implement, Dr Fiona Aldridge discusses a new learning & earning route for young people.