Prospects has extensive experience of delivering high quality, effective careers advice, education and training activities for young people in Gloucestershire
Prospects has delivered youth support services on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council since 2008. Since then the contract has expanded and been extended until 2017. Prospects was chosen through bid process which included an evaluation panel comprised of the young people the contract services, NHS and voluntary sector representatives. Prospects scored the highest overall in a rigorous, transparent tender process. The unique partnership is the first of its kind in England.
The Youth Support Team works with approximately 6,000 vulnerable young people. The service targets specific groups of young people who are at risk of not making a successful transition into adulthood. The multi-disciplinary team comprises youth workers, family support, health and careers specialists working with police and probation officers, to deliver a number of statutory services. Acting as an integrated team, they intervene early to prevent issues escalating. Having these specialists within a single service means cases are managed far more effectively and there is access to a wide pool of expertise. More than 90% of young people supported by the team say it has made a difference to their lives.
The team works with young offenders and those on the edge of the criminal justice system. Since Prospects began working in Gloucestershire, the number of young people entering the criminal justice system in the county has decreased. There have been reductions in the number of young people with youth offending orders and more of them are getting back into education, employment and training. Due to youth crime prevention activity undertaken by the team there has been a 47% reduction in first time entrants to the criminal justice system.
We manage the Children in Care and Care Leaver Service for young people aged 11 to 25 working with over 220 children in care and 300 care leavers. We have improved the rates of participation in education, employment and training from 40% to 60% for care leavers in the county.
Our Health team support young people with services including sexual health and teenage pregnancy coordination, and substance misuse. The team have worked with 126 young people who required specialist support and 94% left treatment in a planned way either reducing their drug use or abstaining from drug use.
The Youth Support Team also supports a number of Gloucestershire County Council initiatives such as the GROW Gloucestershire Youth Employment & Skills Strategy, designed to inspire our young people and develop their employability skills and support better links with businesses to help keep talent in Gloucestershire.
The YES2jobs portal is another way the Youth Support Team is working to connect businesses and young people in Gloucestershire. Businesses upload their employment opportunities, ranging from one day’s work experience to a three-year apprenticeship. These opportunities are then filled by a young and talented work force which will not only grow the county’s economy but improve the skills of the young people in Gloucestershire.
The success of the partnership between Gloucestershire County Council and Prospects was been recognised at a national level and won an award for best Public/Private Partnership at the national 2014 Local Government Chronicle (LGC) awards.
The LGC judges said: “The judges were impressed with this brave, unique and authentic partnership. The council has a clear strategy of targeted integrated services for vulnerable young people and saw the potential of developing a long term partnership with the private sector to deliver this service. Both partners are aware of the high risks associated with this approach but managed with them well. The results are impressive delivery significant cost savings and greater improved outcomes for young people. This innovative approach providing a possible model fit for today’s challenges.”
Cllr Paul McLain, Cabinet Member for Children and Young people, said: “We’re delighted to win this award. It was a truly radical step to go into partnership with Prospects. Together we have been breaking new ground in our work with some of the county’s most vulnerable young people and have really made a difference. Young people and their families are telling us the work has changed their lives for the better.”
Find out more about the Gloucestershire Youth Support Team by visiting www.whatnowglos.co.uk