Youth Guarantee in New Zealand – Effective in keeping more young people in education and engaging young NEETs

Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places were implemented in 2010, as the first part of the Youth Guarantee policy. The Youth Guarantee policy provides opportunities for young people to achieve education success, and progress into further education, training and employment. It supports schools, tertiary education organisations and employers to work together.

Youth Guarantee Fees-Free provides full-time, fees-free tertiary study at New Zealand Qualifications Framework Levels 1 to 3 for 15 to 19 year olds who have left school with low or no qualifications. It is intended to re-engage young people in education and provide a pathway into further study, training and employment.

The programme was initially targeted to 16 to 17 year olds. The number of places and providers were expanded in 2012 by transferring funding from the Youth Training programme. The Youth Training programme had been established in 1999 and was aimed at providing training for employment and further education for 16 and 17 year olds who had become disengaged from education. The programme focused on providing short foundation skills courses. By moving the funding to Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places, a greater emphasis was put on providing programmes aimed at improving education outcomes, and pathways towards higher-level qualifications.

From 2012, 15 year olds with an early leaving exemption were eligible to participate in Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places. From 2014, the age eligibility was further widened to include 18 and 19 year olds.

Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places have been implemented in different ways by different providers. Some providers offer dedicated and tailored programmes for funded learners, others offer places within existing programmes, and many offer a mix of both. The results in this report show the average outcomes across all of the providers and programmes.

Who participates in Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places?

Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places were established in 2010. The number of young people starting Fees-Free has increased each year, from 1,930 in 2010 to 9,000 in 2014.

Youth Training was amalgated with Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places in 2012, resulting in shifts in the types of providers and programmes. Following the amalgamation, q larger proportion of starters in Fees-Free Places were in private training establishments, at Level 2, and/or in non-trades programmes, as well as a greater proportion of learners entering the programme with a high risk of poor outcomes. The proportion of Māori starters increased from 35 to 50%.

Slightly more males than females started in Fees-Free places each year. The proportion of Pasifika starters has remained constant at around 20% each year. Around 60% of participants in each year had no school qualification prior to entry.

How effective are Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places?

Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places have been effective in keeping more young people in education during the period of the programme. The programme has also engaged some young people who would otherwise have been not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Fees-free participants were more likely to achieve NCEA Level 2 or equivalent than young people with a similar background. However, across all years, only around half of starters passed most of their courses, although the proportion failing most of their courses has decreased.

Fees-free participants were no more likely to progress to Level 4 and above tertiary education, or to gain full employment, than young people with a similar background. There is no evidence of any earnings premium from participation in the programme for those in employment.

Following the programme, participants were more likely to be NEET and/or receiving a benefit than young people with a similar background.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  Monitoring Youth Guarantee 2017: Youth Guarantee Fees-Free places | Education Counts

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