Connexions Services and ‘Youth Matters’

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2006 Local Government Service Group Conference
24 February 2006
Carried as Amended

Following UNISON’s successful campaign to prevent the wholesale abolition of the Connexions service, we welcome much of the content of the Government’s (England) Green Paper: ‘Youth Matters’ and will be closely following the Government’s follow up proposals.

UNISON highlighted positive areas but also concerns in our response to Youth Matters in the autumn of 2005 including:

1)Welcoming the move towards greater local authority involvement in the planning and control of the Connexions Service in England through Children’s Trusts

2)Concerns over the future funding of the service and absence of a guarantee over its long-term future

3)Concerns that some proposals could damage the service to young people by watering down the breadth of advice and guidance given, downgrading the knowledge of staff and limiting their current flexibility to advise young people

4)Concerns over the proposals to allow schools and colleges to provide or commission their own information advice and guidance services where they believe that Connexions services are ‘poor’

5)Concerns around proposed new funding schemes such as the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which could reduce the amount of money available for young people on training schemes, especially those with learning disabilities/special needs for whom the Entry to Employment Scheme (E2E) may be the only current option. This has the potential to marginalise provision such as E2E which could become a programme solely for young people from low income groups and undermine Work Based Learning Schemes with their mix of work experience and off-the job training.

6)Concerns over the lack of availability of Modern Apprenticeships places

Therefore Conference calls on the SGE to:

a) Seek assurances from the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) that the work done by Connexions is not de-valued and that jobs are safeguarded including jobs involving work with groups and individuals other than young people

b) Call again on the Government to fully fund Information and Guidance Services (IAG) (including Careers Education and Guidance) that address the problems in delivering services to schools and colleges and the current training problems facing 16 year olds and ensures that payment for joining relevant courses is adequate and does not devalue them.

c) Campaign for the Government to make vital new funds available to ensure provision of Information and Guidance (IAG) (including Careers Education and Guidance services) to schools

d) Ensure that any organisation delivering IAG is impartial, confidential and professional by calling on the DfES to ensure high national minimum standards, which are mandatory for all providers and which include training and career development for all staff. Such standards should be agreed by all stakeholders, including UNISON.