Page last updated at 07:04 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 08:04 UK

Plan to raise job hopes for young

Minister John Griffiths says the young must be prevented "disengaging"

More choice in schools and colleges could reduce the number of people not in education, employment or training in Wales, ministers believe.

An estimated 12,000 young people are not in training, education or employment, so-called "Neets".

The assembly government is launching a new strategy which includes legislation to provide more options and support for young people.

It also wants authorities to work more quickly to help the young "disengaged".

The assembly government says despite some progress in tackling the problem, the number of young people classed as Neets in Wales remains unacceptably high - at 10% of all 16-18-year-olds.

It wants to ensure councils, schools and further education institutions work together to deliver more attractive and flexible learning options.

For those struggling to find any sort of employment, the assembly government has pledged to work more closely with the UK government's Department of Work and Pensions to fast-track them straight on to the New Deal - a programme that gives people training while they look for work.

Deputy Minister for Skills John Griffiths, from the assembly government, is launching a consultation for the strategy.

He said: "We want to ensure that as many young people as possible choose to stay in learning after the age of 16, including those facing the toughest challenges."

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