The not in employment education or training rate, or NEET rate, in Gloucestershire has fallen this November in comparison to this time last year. In Gloucestershire the rate of young people aged 16 to 18 who are not in employment, education or training is 3.46%, down from 4.01% a year ago. Both figures are significantly lower than the national average NEET rate of 12.7% the percentage of young people, aged 16 to 24, who are not in employment, education or training.
Prospects, the education, employment and training company, working in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council to provide the Gloucestershire Youth Support Team, works with young people who are NEET to help them return to education, find employment or start training. The Gloucestershire Youth Support Team offers a range of services, all free for the young person seeking support, impartial advice and encouragement to make a difference to their lives including Ascent: Your Future.
In Gloucestershire there are many opportunities available for young people. Including college courses, apprenticeships, staying at school, starting a job with training or a programme with a training provider. Advisers from Prospects support young people in Gloucestershire find a suitable path. But the question remains why there are still teenagers not in training, employment or education?
Each individual has their own story. A young person may have fallen behind at school and dropped out, or come from a troubled or dysfunctional family background and have a record of school exclusion.
At Prospects we work with thousands of young people across the country, helping them find the right route and break the cycle of disengagement. One young person in Gloucestershire we worked with over the summer was Jess.
Jess was new to Gloucester, moving here aged 17 following her father’s death. Although she has cousins in the area she found it hard to make friends and find her way around the city. With no GCSEs or other qualifications she joined Ascent: Your Future.
Ascent: Your Future offered Jess a chance to meet new people and make friends with young people in similar situations. Through a structured series of group and individual sessions Jess gradually gained confidence and improved her communication and listening skills. She overcame her fear of water and learned to deal with challenges.
During the sessions Jess was given help and advice with interviews, including what to wear and how her body language could matter as much as what she said at interview. Jess found these sessions really helpful as she had never attended an interview before coming to Prospects.
Jess also benefitted from money management sessions. Jess found it hard to manage her money so her Prospects advisers, Jo and Lou, helped her apply for hardship funding before teaching her about budgeting. Jess praised them for their help: “I’ve never been very good with money, but now I know how to save some and spend some a bit more fairly.”
As well as the soft skills Jess learned through Ascent: Your Future she also studied and gained her Food Hygiene Certificate, this was the first qualification Jess had ever attained. She was thrilled: “When I received my certificate I was so proud of myself, I’d never had a qualification before.”
Jess’s life has now changed for the better and she is currently training to be a mechanic, a career choice she would have never considered before joining Ascent: Your Future. She said: “Jo and Lou gave me that extra push, helping me to get onto my course. Before I would have thought I couldn’t do mechanics because I’d be the only girl on the course, but after Ascent I realised it was only work and I can deal with it. Whereas before I’d be like: ‘I can’t do that’ Ascent helped me build my confidence so now I’m: ‘I can do it!’”
Lynne Speak, Operations Manager at Prospects said:
“Many young people, like Jess, need extra support as they move from childhood into a successful adulthood. There are many reasons young people struggle with this move but it is important for these young people, their local communities and society as whole, that we encourage and support them to help get their lives back on track. Jess is one of our many successes and we are delighted for her and wish her well in the future”
If you, or a friend or family member need help the Gloucestershire Youth Support Team provides a range of services for vulnerable young people aged between 11 - 19 (and up to 25 for young people with special needs). Anyone wanting to get in touch can contact https://youthsupportteam.co.uk/, call 01452 426900 or search Gloucestershire Youth Support Team on Facebook.
Alona de Havilland
0779 080 3882