Young people's experiences of the Youth Training Scheme : a case study of recent state intervention in the youth labour market
The Youth Training Scheme (YTS) is a state sponsored training programme for 16 and 17 year old schoolleavers. This thesis sets out to explore how young people experience leaving school and enter the YTS. It draws on data generated by a one-off survey of fifth form school pupils, semi-structured interviews amongst a sample of YTS trainees and previously unpublished figures from the Training Agency's 1 100% Follow-Up Survey of YTS Leavers'. The thesis takes some of the key assumptions and assertions on which YTS' claimed successes have been built and examines them in relation to the actual ways in which young people make sense of, and cope with, the transition from school to a training scheme. There has been much written about the development of YTS but there is an acknowledged dearth of information on the views and experiences of young people themselves. In addressing this problem, the thesis provides an addition to the existing body of sociological knowledge relating to young people and their movement into the labour market. Furthermore, the thesis addresses some important policy considerations relating to Britain's continued inability to provide youngsters with quality training for jobs. Contrary to claims that YTS has 'revolutionized' young people's attitudes towards training and the labour market, the research illustrates its continued failure to provide them with a credible training alternative on leaving school. YTS fails to grasp the significance of work for many working class youngsters, as they grow up and prepare to leave school, and so ignores their consequent ambivalence towards the training package offered by the Scheme. In addition, it illustrates that YTS has failed to provide youngsters with a period of quality foundation training and explores some of the mechanisms that account for the Scheme's chronic inability to retain youngsters for the full length of their training programmes. It also explores young people's attitudes towards compulsory training and concludes with some pointers as to the likely achievements of its successor, Youth Training.