No need to go Dutch for top-quality Neet support

30th April 2010 at 01:00

Why did MPs feel it necessary to travel to the Netherlands to learn about the support that can be offered to Neets (those not in education, employment or training) when we have so much excellent practice on our own door-step ("Neets must get benefit support, say MPs", April 9).

If the visit has finally persuaded ministers what it takes to engage Neets, then I am delighted. But why travel all this way when the answer could be under your nose?

Right across the sector we already see many examples of colleges working successfully with other agencies to address the issue. Indeed, the most successful are in fact providing the "one-stop-shop" service being recommended.

Breaking the cycle of becoming Neet requires much more than providing exceptional opportunities and outstanding teaching and learning. These young people often come with a range of complex issues, ranging from homelessness and substance misuse to offending. So colleges must work with them and other agencies to try to resolve some of these before the benefit of education can be realised.

I welcome the Commons select committee report and its commitment to review funding for 16-18 year-olds, in particular Neets.

As a sector we remain committed to improving the life chances of this often- forgotten group of young people. We have the skills, the track record and the passion.

With a more systematic approach and more structured financial support, the difference made can be more consistent and speedy.

Asha Khemka, Principal and chief executive, West Nottinghamshire College.

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