Raising the Participation Age and Training to 18: Review of existing evidence of the benefits and challenges

Sandie Schagen, Thomas Spielhofer, Matt Walker, Kerensa Gagg, Sharon O'Donnell

01 December 2007

From 2015, all young people will be required to participate in some form of education or training until they reach the age of 18. A review of national and international research evidence was undertaken to explore the likely impact, benefits and challenges associated with the change.

Key Findings

  • Although some countries have introduced similar systems, there was very little direct evidence of the impact on young people.
  • Young people affected by the change are likely to undertake jobs with training, vocational courses or courses leading to low-level qualifications.
  • The main benefit for young people is in terms of increased future earnings. Those who leave school without qualifications are particularly likely to benefit financially if they later achieve vocational qualifications.
  • Suitable post-16 pathways, high-quality guidance and support, and good alternative pre-16 provision will encourage voluntary participation.
  • There is as yet limited evidence of the success of sanctions in countries where they are applied.

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