20140307Last week we reported changes at the Skills Funding Agency, fresh talks around pay in the Higher Education sector, and tackling the underrepresentation of women, both in work and academia. The headlines this week focus on the increase in unpaid overtime, encouraging NEET figures, apprenticeships and opportunities for young people.

Employees across the UK worked a record amount of unpaid overtime last year, with over 5.4 million workers putting in around £640m worth of unpaid hours every week, according to figures published last week by the TUC. Teaching and educational professionals were identified as the group of workers most likely to be putting in unpaid overtime and clocking up the most free hours a week, according to UCU’s analysis of the figures.

The proportion of young people aged 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) is the lowest it has been since 2008. Recent figures showed that there were 1.04 million young people (aged from 16 to 24) in the UK who were NEET, a decrease of 38,000 from July to September 2013 and down 37,000 from a year earlier.

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Head of Learning for Work at NIACE responded saying: “These are encouraging figures and a step in the right direction. However, far too many young people are still not getting the right start to their post-school life. They need better support in achieving that vital first step into the workplace, as well as having access to the right education and training opportunities to secure fulfilling and lasting careers.”

Nick Clegg recently announced a raft of measures to help young people get into work, including allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to get advice from Jobcentre Plus centres. The Deputy Prime Minister also stated that unemployed teenagers in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall will be the first to be stripped of benefits in a new initiative – if they fail to improve their maths and English skills.

CIPD, Acas and unionlearn have joined forces to highlight the importance of giving young recruits the best start to work.

The National Careers Service has launched the #HereForYou campaign. The campaign uses YouTube videos delivered through social media to provide people with an action plan to meet their career objectives. Almost half (44%) of businesses in the country plan to take on apprentices in the next 5 years.

Locally, Gloucestershire College has launched a new Level 3 marketing apprenticeship after a surge of interest from the local business community as the economic recovery gathers pace.

A campaign is also being launched by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (WE LEP) asking local businesses to make a pledge to inspire a young person.

BT is expecting to create more than 50 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs in the South West as a part of a major nationwide recruitment drive.

I hope you find this edition useful.