School leavers need our help

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As the academic year begins, it is worth sparing a thought for this summer’s school leavers. While many of the South East’s young people would have been thrilled with their GCSE results, it is vital we don’t forget those who did not get the grades they hoped for.

New research by The Prince’s Trust and HSBC has found that, in previous years, thousands of young people have literally “abandoned their ambitions” due to poor qualifications.

More than one in ten young people in the South East (15 per cent) already expect to “end up on benefits”. For UK school leavers with poor grades, the number increased significantly to one in three (34 per cent).

We must invest in vocational support and training for young people who now find themselves at a loose end, as they watch their peers move on to the next chapter.

The Prince’s Trust runs a number of vocational programmes which are proven to work, with three in four disadvantaged young people moving into jobs, education or training.

Government, employers and charities must work together to prevent young talent from going to waste. Failing to give our most vulnerable school leavers a helping hand, at a time when many of them need it most, risks untold damage to their futures and to our region’s prosperity.

Dermot Finch

Regional Director, South of England, The Prince’s Trust