“Basic unfairness” is affecting the life chances of young people growing up across Yorkshire, with those in Hull ranked almost bottom across England for education and employment opportunities, while those spending their formative years a few miles away in North Yorkshire seeing some of the best outcomes in the country.
A new Youth Opportunity Index compiled by the Learning and Work Institute, based on seven factors including apprenticeship take up, GCSE results, youth employment and NEET (not in education, employment or training) figures shows that young people’s life chances “are directly affected by where they live”, the charity said.
The analysis placed Hull 149th of 150 Local Education Authority areas in England, ranked relatively low across each of the seven index measures, and only shortly ahead of the worst-performing, Nottingham.
Other lower ranked local authority areas in the region are North East Lincolnshire at 147, Sheffield at 139, and North Lincolnshire at 133.
At the other end of the scale, North Yorkshire was 15th. Towards the middle ground were York at 71 and Leeds at 99, which while behind two-thirds of England, ranked ahead of comparably sized Manchester and Birmingham. Deeper analysis ranks East Riding, while 21st overall, at second in the country for apprenticeship opportunities which North Yorkshire is third.
Chief executive Stephen Evans told The Yorkshire Post the results were indicative of the strength of local economies as well as educational offerings, and should be used by policy makers to focus efforts. He said the focus should be now on sharing best practice beyond local borders so that all young people could meet their potential.
“The challenges in Yorkshire are diverse, and the differences within the region are as big as those between any different areas in the country,” he added.
A spokesperson for Hull City Council said the city was making “good progress” in improving opportunities for young people, especially with apprenticeships.
She said: “This is down to the hard work of the council, local businesses and learning providers offering young people the opportunity to get into work whilst learning. We are also capitalising on the success of Siemens Gamsea and GreenPort Hull which are great examples of building robust training and skills packages to raise employability and skills within the Hull and East Riding area. We want the best for every young person in Hull and we are working hard to provide them with good learning, training and employment opportunities to support them in achieving their full potential and equip them with the skills local employers need to drive growth.”
Leeds City Council’s director of children and families, Steve Walker, said it wanted to ensure young people were leaving school and college with “essential skills and qualifications to help them achieve their full potential in life”.
Annabel Jolley, Head of Skills at the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership said: “In North Yorkshire we have a commitment to ensuring that every young person gets outstanding careers guidance in school, college and beyond. This means that young people and those around them know exactly how to plan their futures successfully and how to fulfil their ambitions.
“Building in numerous real life work experiences by linking businesses directly into schools also works wonders to connect what students learn in class with what happens in the world of work.”