Nearly $10-million of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on funding students who did not complete their training under the Government’s much vaunted Youth Guarantee scheme, says Grant Robertson, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson.
"The Youth Guarantee is one of the Government’s flagship programmes aimed at getting young people skills and qualifications, but serious questions have to be asked about whether its achieving its goal with so many students not even completing the courses they enrol for," Grant Robertson said.
Figures released as part of answers to Parliamentary questions from Grant Robertson, show that on average 63 per cent of students enrolled in Youth Guarantee programmes in Polytechnics complete their courses. With a similar completion rate for all Youth Guarantee students this means that in 2010 (the latest available figures), 733 students never finished their training at an all up cost of $9.65-million, less any money recovered from providers.
Of 18 polytechs that offered Youth Guarantee programmes in 2010 10 had course completion rates of less than 60 per cent. Just 44.4 per cent of Youth Guarantee students at Northland Polytechnic finished their course, and 52 per cent at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.
"Obviously, these are young people that have struggled previously in the education system so we cannot expect that everyone will finish their course. But these courses are specifically designed to meet their needs, and the polytechs get an extra $500 per student for pastoral care to support their learning. So why are so many dropping out?
"The poor rate of course completion - let alone those completing qualifications in full- calls into question whether the Youth Guarantee is working.
"This year 7,500 students are expected to be enrolled in it, and if the 63 per cent course completion rate continues that will mean another $35-million dollars will be thrown away on students who fail to finish their training.
"There needs to be a thorough review of the Youth Guarantee. Steven Joyce should be asking some hard questions about the scheme, unless he is happy to risk throwing good money after bad.
"Labour believes in a far more intensive approach to support young people in the transitions between school, training and employment, It is not good enough for the Government to just sit back and watch almost four out of ten of the students on its flagship programme drop out," says Grant Robertson.
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