William Eichler 24 February 2023

Council chiefs call for devolution of skills powers

Council chiefs call for devolution of skills powers  image
Image: fizkes/Shutterstock.com.

Local authority leaders have called for the devolution of skills budgets and powers to help them support young people into education, employment or training.

The latest figures show that there were 788,000 young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the last three months of 2022, up from 724,000 in the quarter to September.

Responding to this increase, Cllr Kevin Bentley, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) People and Places Board, said that councils were ‘central’ to helping young people find employment and develop their skills.

‘As these figures illustrate, councils have seen significant growth in the number of young people who are not active in the labour market, in particular due to mental ill-health which requires a holistic support offer,’ he said.

‘Councils and combined authorities are central to identifying and supporting everyone into work, education or training. Their various roles in providing services such as housing, family services, public health, adult and community learning and money advice, working alongside partners in health and care, make them ideally placed to bring employment and skills initiatives together.’

Cllr Bentley added that the devolution of funding and powers to local authorities would help councils to support young people.

‘Devolving careers advice, post-16 and skills budgets and powers to local areas, would allow councils, schools, colleges and employers to work together to improve provision for young people so that they can get on in life.'

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