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Mentoring pilot launched;FE Focus

A new one-to-one mentoring system designed to help young people with their career and personal lives will be introduced from September, writes Harvey McGavin.

The service, called Connexions, will be available to young people from the age of 13 who are at risk of dropping out or being excluded from education. It will have the stated aim of "raising aspirations" and will provide them with educational advice as well as counselling on emotional problems.

Further details will be announced in the Social Exclusion report due to be published in three weeks time, but it is expected to be an extended version of the system of personal advisers used under the New Deal, who guide recruits through the initial "Gateway" period.

Connexions - which could cater for around 250,000 youngsters initially and might require up to 10,000 mentors - will ensure "young people have the help, support and guidance that will raise their aspirations and tackle any personal and family problems standing in their way".

One of its central aims will be "making sure that far more young people continue in education and training until they are at least 19". The scheme, which follows the Learning Mentors scheme announced as part of the Government's Excellence in Cities programme, will be piloted this autumn.

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