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Young people in education and training until 18

Young people in education and training until 18 – Maharey

No young person will leave school without options in education, training or employment within three years, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey was speaking to the City of Manukau Education Trust (COMET) forum on school-to-work links. The Minister is working on an education and leaving age strategy designed to encourage young people to stay in education and training until they have completed a formal qualification. Mr Maharey said the new Government was focusing on upskilling young people as a priority, and the strategy would build on the opportunities offered by the Modern Apprenticeships programme and the lowering cost of tertiary study.

"Providing better skills for our young people is urgent. Data last week from the Household Labour Force Survey shows that 18.3% of those in the 15 to 19 year old cohort are unemployed – a much higher rate than for the population as a whole.

"Information from the 1996 census tells us that 20% of this age group have very low or no qualifications, making it very difficult for them to move from school into the workforce and adult life.

"The Government wants to create a smooth transition from school to work for the 270,000 young New Zealanders finishing their school-based education. We must ensure that we make available to these young people real opportunities to broaden their skills and to prepare themselves for lifelong learning and the world of work.

"The strategy I am working on will bring together a number of initiatives designed to prepare young people for a successful transition to adult life. These include school to work business partnership programmes which give young people 'live' experience in real workplaces; improved careers planning and advice; a review of the STAR programme to ensure that it effectively enables young people to begin nationally recognised qualifications while still at school and the establishment of a new Gateway programme which will increase the number of vocational and training options for senior secondary students", Steve Maharey said.

ends

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