Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Pupils Must Learn It's Not Cool to Mess around at School If They Want a Job'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Pupils Must Learn It's Not Cool to Mess around at School If They Want a Job'

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil talks to former foreign secretary David Miliband THE POLITICAL INTERVIEW

PUPILS were today bluntly warned that if they "mess around at school" they are heading for the dole queue.

The stark message came from former foreign secretary David Miliband before a youth unemployment summit in north London today.

In an interview with the Standard, he also stressed that everyone in Britain over 25 had a "moral and social duty" to help younger people avoid the misery of long-term unemployment.

He said there was a "three-way bargain" between young people, the Government and companies to find them jobs.

The former minister also tore into the Government's Youth Contract which aims to get 160,000 people aged 18-24 taken on by firms over three years through subsidies of up to [pounds sterling]2,275.

He believes this "big bazooka" is not working and small firms are not signing up in large numbers because the subsidy is too low and large companies see it as too much "hassle".

The number of unemployed aged 16 to 24 fell by 49,000 in the three months to September, to 963,000. But with Britain facing growing competition from emerging economies and mired in an economic crisis many school, college and university leavers face a daunting task finding a job. Mr Miliband emphasised how crucial it was for them to gain good qualifications.

"It's not cool to mess around at school. It's stupid to mess around in school. The truth is if you mess around in school you'll end up unemployed," he said.

A former pupil of Haverstock School in north London, he returns there every few weeks to teach A-level politics and is impressed by pupils' desire to learn to prepare for further studies and the world of work.

He does not believe there is a lack of aspiration among most pupils and parents in London, because the capital is "so full of success", and said: "My concern is young people are being let down and we are not giving them the chance to show what they are capable of. …

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