Government-backed Connexions loyalty card for teens facing axe

The Government’s tie-up with brands such as Carphone Warehouse, Cosmo Girl!, Top Shop and UCI Cinema as part of its Connexions Card loyalty scheme to encourage teenagers to stay on in education, is facing the axe. This follows research showing that less than one in ten of the target audience is using the card.

The scheme, launched in 2001 with an advertising campaign by BMP.DDB, offers loyalty points to 16- to 19-year-olds for attending training, school or college classes or undertaking voluntary work. Points are entered on the Connexions Card and teenagers can use them for a range of cheap deals on entertainment, shopping and travel brands. For example, one week’s full attendance at college earns 100 points, which can be redeemed for a half-price subscription to Cosmo Girl! or money off CDs, books and educational aids. Brands such as All Sports, Carphone Warehouse, Pontins, Top Shop and UCI Cinemas also offer discounts.

But a report commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), which runs the £108m scheme in partnership with private company Capita, says that the scheme has failed to achieve its initial ambitions. The report estimates that only nine per cent of the target audience were using the card and just 3.7 per cent of them redeemed their loyalty points. A Capita spokeswoman says: “We have met and exceeded our targets for the card.”

A DfES spokeswoman says the scheme will be reviewed in the forthcoming Youth Green Paper. “I am not saying it will or won’t get scrapped,” she says.

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