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A Lost Generation – Or Gap Year Relief?

So, the young people who now find they cannot get their University place, even though they now have the right grades, they are poised to undertake an involuntary gap year.

Normally, this may not prove to be much of a problem – get a low paid job, live with mum and dad and save for a fling traveling for 3 months.  Not anymore.  No low paid jobs, difficulty in traveling to many parts of the world.

These young people find themselves in a difficult position – though absolutely no fault of their own.  These individuals are likely to be in the upper band of achievement and in a normal time we would expect them to go on to become very useful, high achieving individuals within our society.

Will the government see this dilemma?  Probably not, so CST has come up with a plan that helps this group to get over the current crisis and brings immediate benefits to the society whilst improving the students abilities for their future lives.  It is also a scheme that could be applied to any group of younger people or those requiring to re-train.

This process enables the society at large to make best use of these high level individuals during their enforced year off.   Charities and small businesses will directly benefit from their input creating additional output for the society that they would not normally be able to achieve.  Some students will no doubt stay on with their employer as a full time employee after the scheme ends.  The course work undertaken will ensure that they have improved abilities to offer the employer in future years.

The courses are designed to provide critical processes for all future employment and enhance the thinking and general life-abilities of the students.  As these students will have generally higher level abilities, these courses will provide a life changing start to their adult lives and provide future employers with significantly enhanced job seekers from within this group.  Universities will also benefit from this training scheme as it provides for essential basic processes required to help future study.

There is no reason, once the ground work has been set out, for the government to roll out a similar job based scheme and training process to other people who need employment and training in the post COVID era who find themselves unable to get other work.  

These online courses are very cost effective and the ongoing testing and incentives to pass each stage provide an effective and cost efficient way of training for non-apprenticeships.

The Scheme

Open to all smaller businesses, and the third sector.  Applicable students are categorized as those who could have gone to into further education if their grades had not been downgraded, (we know who they are), and whom are being forced to take a gap year before they can fulfil their chosen educational path.

For these students, companies and charities will be able to take them on as fully paid workers.  They will sign on to the gap year scheme that will provide a basic wage at the standard minimum adult hourly rate (£8.72) for up to 37 hours per week.  The funds for this paid work will go direct to the employer, in a very similar fashion to the furlough scheme operated by HMRC. 

However, this scheme will include a range of specific detailed learning outcomes that each student will be required to meet to ensure their full minimum wage adult payment.  Failure to reach the set learning outcomes will mean that a student will fall back to the lower (18 to 20 years) rate of £6.45

This is a significant incentive to reach the learning goals within the scheme.  This learning process will be an online educational process, linked to some direct support from each employer to enhance the learning process.  One day per week will be set aside for course work.

The idea of each learning category will be to enhance the general work and societal usefulness of these students.  These are the ideas for such learning outcomes, they are not usually well covered by school or higher level education and they should significantly enhance the abilities of the students for employment after their chosen further education.

All students must undertake the first three that are the basis of ongoing development in higher level jobs:-


And then chose one from the following:-

Testing and Assessment

This training scheme, while online, will require ongoing online testing and submission of written responses.  This can be modeled on the best online MOOC courses such as EDX or FutureLearn which now have a proven quality output and assessment systems

Each student will be able re-take any of the course modules, tests and submission to qualify for their higher level pay grade.  If they fail to reach the required standard within each phase of each course they will drop down to the lower pay grade until they re-take and pass each required test.  There will be no limit on the number of times or timescale for these re-takes, incentivising each student to reach the required standard by the end of their gap year.  Each student will be required to sign up for the fair use of course testing and if found to be cheating they will lose all their pay and be required to repay all past payments.  Spot checks can be made on individual students to ensure compliance.

There will be a formal recognised award for each course.  The employer will be required to set some key tasks and work-place practice for each course, there will be online help and support for this process to provide each type of employer relevant ideas and practical guidance to create practical work based practice.

Costs vs Outcomes

Employment costs for each student will be approximately £1.7Bn for each 100,000 students.   The economic outcome will be more money flowing through the economy and a lifetime improvement in the output of these students due to the additional training.  A 5% improvement in effectiveness in employment would provide approximately £3.7Bn per 100,000 students over a 25 year period (assuming £30k average salary per year).  The cost of not providing a scheme will have ongoing long term economic effects and potential decreased health outcomes for these students as very many will face a year of unemployment with little achievement, leading to increased health costs for this generation.

As a training experiment, if successful, it would also provide for a new model for training for sectors of the society who become unemployed as jobs change due to technology and other factors.




What about the Students?

Aug 20th 2020

How do we best deal with the students who have - through no fault of their own - been disenfranchised?