It is to be phased in over two to three years from April 2001, but is being piloted in five areas from this month: Coventry and Warwickshire, Devon and Cornwall, Lewisham, Hampshire and Humberside.
The idea is to bring together fragmented existing advice and support services for the young to create a single point of access. The main partners will include the careers service, youth services, youth offending teams, and the education welfare service.
There will be a national network of personal advisers to support and advise teenagers who need help.
The aim of the scheme is to:
* Increase participation in learning up to the age of 19 * Help improve learning achievement at all levels * Prevent disaffection and promoe social inclusion * Give practical support to overcome personal, family or social obstacles.
To administer and oversee the schemes, there will be * A Connexions Service national unit, based at the DFEE, supported by an advisory council and reporting to an inter-departmental group of ministers chaired by David Blunkett.
* Connexions partnerships at local learning and skills council level, responsible for strategic planning and funding.
* Local management committees at local authority level, bringing together local partners and responsible for local delivery.
Connexions will have a quality framework with target-setting and benchmarking. Ofsted will take a leading role in audit and inspection.
A database will be set up to track the progress of youngsters through their teenage years to ensure they do not fall through the net.