EDUCATIONALISTS have called for a better deal for young people.

The comments follow a survey by North Yorkshire County Council's education department into vocational training and education for people aged 14 to 19.

Hugh Williamson, council head of scrunity and corporate performance, told the economic and development scrutiny committee that, although much was being done to improve the situation, the study still showed a skills shortage and shortcomings in literacy and numeracy.

Issues highlighted in the survey included schools finding it difficult to plan long-term because of uncertainty over funding and too much time being spent on administration.

The research also revealed that several schools in areas where the tourist industry was important, such as Ryedale, did not run courses in leisure, tourism, hotel or catering.

Mr Williamson said: "There is a specific shortage in trades skills such as bricklayers, plumbers, joiners in the construction industry, and of maintenance staff in the rail industry".

"The opportunity now is to collate the wealth of consultation that has been carried out, and to capitalise on the enthusiasm for improvements in 14-to-19 education and vocational training to the benefit of young people and the economy of North Yorkshire."

The committee backed moves to ensure that all schools provide a mixture of vocational GCSEs and NVQs, and that courses offered have links with the economic needs of the area.