ippr north is currently researching some of the most deprived communities in northern
These young people are critical of training courses that do not lead to work. Too often the major objective is simply for young people to be ‘seen’ to be meaningfully occupied; if the process has no job prospect at the end, there is a danger of vulnerable young people becoming even more disillusioned about the benefits of education and the opportunities available to them. This risks lowering aspiration, and reinforcing a belief that education does not lead to employment.
But perhaps most fundamentally for the North, the majority of the election debate has been focused on the issues of ‘labour supply’ – particularly training and skills – perhaps because this is the area where the leaders feel they have most levers.
For a sustainable recovery to happen in the North, the parties must do more to tackle the thorny issue of creating new, high-quality, low-skilled jobs. Only when jobs offer the opportunity for progression and decent pay, can they truly offer a way for people to improve their lives. The risk otherwise is that we further entrench inequality.