Page 1: Introduction
One of the most critical times for young people is when they have their first opportunity to leave school. Although leaving school at 16 offers the chance to get a job or start a career, nearly 10of that age group become socially excluded after doing so because they remain outside education, training and work for long periods of time. Less people continue their education in the UK than in many other European countries. Recent government statistics show that those who stay in learning can boost their average earnings by up to 40over those that leave at 16.
The Government's Social Exclusion Unit's report 'Bridging the Gap' highlighted the financial barriers that prevent many young people from staying on in learning. The report recommended that a 'smart' youth card should be introduced to reduce some of the financial barriers that prevent young people from continuing to study after the age of 16. This has resulted in the introduction of the Connexions Card for all 16-19 year olds in England. Other key elements in the Government's strategy to provide incentives for young people to stay on in education include the development of Education Maintenance Allowances and Learner Support Funds. All of which provide a range of benefits for young people.
The Connexions Card offers young people exclusive rewards for their attendance and application, such as:
- work experience at top firms
- VIP tickets to concerts and sporting events
- opportunities to cut a CD in a professional studio.
The cost of remaining in learning is also reduced by the provision of discounts and special offers.
The success of the Connexions Card relies upon the co-operation of a wide range of groups including:
- private sector
- education sector
- local authorities
- a number of Government departments.
This case study focuses on the Connexions Card, and discusses how the Department for Education & Skills (DfES) has joined forces with Capita, a private sector service business to form a public private partnership (PPP).