Improving life chances

This week, the Prime Minister spoke about improving the life chances of young people across our country.

Nationally, the Careers & Enterprise Company will be spearheading a campaign to encourage business people and professionals to volunteer as mentors to support young people who are not fulfilling their potential, or at risk of dropping out of education.

The campaign will provide assistance to potential volunteers to identify possible mentoring organisations operating in their local area, and mentors will be encouraged to come forward from the private and public sectors, including the civil service and the Local Government Association.

Overall spending to improve careers education and guidance will reach £70 million by 2020.

While youth unemployment in Crawley is at 1.5 per cent (November 2015), and national figures for young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) have fallen since 2010, there is still more to be done.

It was also announced recently that the civil service, as well as employers such as Teach First, KPMG, the NHS and the BBC will be operating their recruitment on a ‘name blind’ basis to counter discrimination.

I was pleased to note the Prime Minister’s comments about National Citizen Service last week.

It was announced that future funding for NCS over the next four years will ensure that the scheme covers 60 per cent of all 16 year olds.

Locally the scheme has been co-ordinated by the Crawley Town Community Foundation. Last year their NCS Autumn Programme undertook social action projects and raised hundreds of pounds for Friends of Manor Green.

The Prime Minister said that NCS is becoming a rite of passage for teenagers, and showing young people the power of public service – I continue to support NCS in Crawley and I was delighted to present certificates to graduates of the Autumn Programme.

In Crawley, I am organising an Apprenticeship & Jobs Fair which takes place at the Civic Hall on 4th March 2016, from 10am to 3pm.

This event is of free of charge to all jobseekers, and is being organised to provide opportunities to meet and speak with key local employers.

Among organisations who will be in attendance are Jace Training, Positive Outcomes, Autism Sussex and the British Army.

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