FORCING the young unemployed into the New Deal is not compatible with the principles of lifelong learning, Professor John Fairley, head of environmental planning at Strathclyde University, warned as the Scottish Executive trumpeted the scheme's success.
Professor Fairley told The TES Scotland: "Surely if the New Deal is attractive as the Government says, then young people would freely choose to go on it."
But he accepted the programme, "largely about education and training", wasthe first positive attempt for some time to deal with youth unemployment and was funded with new money.
Henry McLeish, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister, said the scheme would provide "a meaningful future for a whole generation of young Scots". Since the programme's launch in April 1998, 44,800 young people had signed up. By last December, 21,370 had secured jobs, and a further 13,700 had taken up full-time education and training, or had work experience placements.