The county’s youth support service, provided by Prospects the education, employment and skills company, is working hard to provide young people with the opportunities they need in life.
A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that found that young people who are not in education, employment or training are less literate and lack problem solving skills compared to their working peers.
In Gloucestershire the youth support service works to help vulnerable young people who need help transitioning to adulthood. Prospects run a programme called ‘Ascent: Your Future’, which provides young people with a tailor made action plan of activities, group work and one to one support.
Prospects have found the programme builds confidence, communication, team work and life skills, which improve employability, enabling the participant to move on with their life.
One beneficiary of Ascent: Your Future was Dan, one of the young people who have been supported by the service. Dan had a difficult start in life being diagnosed with mental health issues at a young age, and a troubled home life.
He didn’t enjoy school, leaving before completing his secondary education, and fell into trouble with the police. Dan was referred to Gloucestershire Youth Support Service, and invited to take part in the Ascent: Your Future programme. Initially, he was reluctant on joining the scheme.
Dan said; “I didn’t want to do it at the start but then I wanted to do more. I saw my group once or twice a week for four or five months. I’ve made friends through the group and we’re still in contact.”
The course provides individual experiences to improve employability, such as updating CVs, job searching and workplace conduct. The group also went on team building trips which taught the attendees how to work independently.
Under the guidance of the course staff, Jayne and Harry, Dan returned to education to enable him to gain the qualifications he would need to find work and move on.
Dan said; “I didn’t want to go to college but Jayne and Harry gave me a push. I ended up getting 100% attendance. I did employability skills, English and maths.”
Through attending college, Dan completed a work experience placement and, through that, has been able to find full time work with a removal company. He has recently moved into his own flat.
Looking back on his progress and completing the Prospects Ascent: Your Future programme, Dan said “If it wasn’t for Ascent I would still be at home doing nothing with no confidence to go out. I didn’t believe that people would like me and now people actually wanted to be my friend. I feel there are now more options for me and I am not afraid to push myself’”.
Cllr Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said; “Dan’s story is something that everyone, especially himself, can be very proud of.”
“Through his own dedication, the work and support of Gloucestershire Youth Support Service and Prospects, he has been given a real opportunity to progress in life.”
“This is a fantastic service, and I am sure it will benefit many more young people in the county.”
To find out more about the Youth Support Service or refer a young person you know to get personalised support to reengage with education, employment and wider society, please visit www.prospects.co.uk.
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Notes to Editor
About the Ascent: Your Future Programme
The Ascent: Your Future programme is funded by European Social Fund (ESF) and contract managed by Skills Fund Agency (SFA). The Gloucestershire Youth Support Team, on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council, provide the Ascent: Your Future Programme in the County.
About the Gloucestershire Youth Support Team
Prospects has delivered targeted youth support on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council since 2008 and in April 2013, the contract was expanded and extended for another three years. The Youth Support Team works with approximately 6,000 vulnerable young people in Gloucestershire. The service targets specific groups of young people who are the most at risk of not making a successful transition into adulthood. The Gloucestershire Youth Support Team also delivers statutory services and operates across Gloucestershire through youth support centres, mobile centres, in schools and with families and young people in their homes. The multi-disciplinary team comprises youth workers, family support, health and careers specialists working with police and probation officers. Acting as an integrated team, they identify young people most at risk and intervene early to prevent issues escalating. The partnership is the first of its kind in England and more than 90% of young people supported by the team say it has made a difference to their lives.
Last year, the success of the unique partnership between Gloucestershire County Council and Prospects was recognised at a national level when they won the best Public/Private Partnership award at the national 2014 Local Government Chronicle (LGC) awards.
For more information please visit: www.prospects.co.uk/WhatWeDo/SocialCareSpecialNeeds/GloucestershireYouthSupport
The Prospects Group is a dynamic and enterprising organisation providing a wide range of education, employment and skills services in the UK and internationally. At the heart of what we do is the drive to improve the life chances, skills and aspirations of everyone we support. Each year we support more than 500,000 young people and adults.
Alona De Havilland