The Journal Opinion: We have to give teenagers a reason to get up in the morning

The Journal's opinion column for Thursday, October 30, in which we look at the problem of teenagers drifting out of the education system at 16

Labour politician and former Cabinet Minister Alan Milburn
Labour politician and former Cabinet Minister Alan Milburn

Alan Milburn’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission is doing good work in identifying key issues for the North East.

Defining those issues is the first step towards tackling them. And in the North East Schools Challenge, the region will soon have the right vehicle to do just that.

What children are doing once they finish their GCSEs is of vital concern. It is clear that too many are drifting out of the education system – some into low-paid work, some into worklessness. Too many become what is known as Neets – people not in education, employment or training.

It’s been proved that this kind of dead-end existence can continue for generations. That’s a cycle that the North East has to break.

What we must do is give 16-year-olds a good reason to get up in the morning.

That means qualifications that mean something, apprenticeships that lead somewhere and jobs that pay decent wages.

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