As youth unemployment has become the subject of ever greater concern around the world, interest has grown in those countries which appeared to have bucked the trend. Germany has attracted particular interest, not only for the excellence of its vocational provision, but also for the apparent smoothness of transitions from school to work. Comparative analysis shows that young Germans find it much easier to prosper in the labour market than young Britons. In March 2015, 20 London stakeholders, selected from their involvement in the London Youth Employment Initiative and through the membership of Partnership for Young London, undertook a study visit to the North Rhine Westfalia region of Germany funded by the European Union’s Erasmus Programme. Over four days, the group explored the relationship between education and employment in this German region, visiting schools, colleges, training providers and other agencies engaged in supporting school to work transitions and tackling youth unemployment.
In this joint Partnership for Young London seminar, presented with Education and Employers and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, learning points from the visit were shared. Led by Chris Heaume and Yolande Burgess (London Councils), the session drew on contributions from UK and German participating stakeholders and focus notably on the three key recommendations emerging from the visit i) organisational structures linking education and employers, action to promote STEM take up, ii) Production Schools (supporting young unemployed), employer-based apprentice trainers, and iii) school-mediated employer engagement within career orientation over the age of 11-14 (equivalent to Key Stage 3).