I attended my first South London Fabian Society earlier tonight. This is part of my search for a place to think and refresh my enthusiasm for ideas and electoral politics. The speaker was a man called
Richard Brooks, who had worked as a senior policy adviser to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. He is the author of the award wining for his Fabian booklet, Out of Sight, “How we lost track of thousands of NEETS, and how we can transform their prospects”.
The meeting was advertised as a discussion of the hidden crisis of youth unemployment and how it can be solved. Richard kicked off by stating that the privatisation and subsequent goaling through the service contracts of the Further Education sector, now in parallel existence with 6th form colleges had created a sink. Critical to the understanding is that the financial performance of the colleges, are enhanced by entering students into cul-de-sac courses. For a huge number of the courses, there is no follow-up; to enter Higher Education, they would need to restart their 16+ education. Often, further qualification is required to enter the chosen career or job market.
It’s another illustration of the education shaped hole in Labour’s priorities.
I found this an enjoyable and stimulating meeting, certainly better than I expected, but that would have been about me, not the speaker.
Image Credit: Daniel Comber “Innocent” @flickr CC 2014 BY-NC-ND +