In a BBC interview Gordon Brown has advocated a "carrot and stick" approach to encouraging the young to take up education opportunities- education maintenance allowances (EMAs) balanced with "compulsion if necessary".
EMAs are given to financially disadvantaged children between 16 and 19 years of age to encourage them to stay in further education. They are part of the drive to improve the UK's skills by ensuring all 16 to 18 year olds are in some form of education.
Recent statistics indicate that 267,000 16 and 17-year-olds are currently not in education or training and this month, the Department for Education and Skills confirmed plans to raise the school leaving age in England to 18 in the next six years
The chancellor's interview remarks fleshed out his suggestions in a speech in Scotland, hinting at some measure of compulsion.
He also called for employers to take a more active role in training young people.
He proposed adapting the existing "Train to Gain" scheme to provide work-based training for 16 to 18-year-olds, alongside his commitment to double the number of apprenticeships to 500,000.
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