Inspire! is improving opportunities for young people: an ESF project in North London
How ESF and bringing education and businesses together improves job prospects for young people.
|ESF funding||Skills Funding Agency|
|ESF target group||Young people|
The Inspire! European Social Fund (ESF) NEET Programme operates across 6 boroughs in North London. It’s managed by Inspire! Education Business Partnership, a charity that brings young people, education and businesses together to raise aspirations and improve opportunities for young people. The project engages young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). It is financed by the European Social Fund with match funding from the Skills Funding Agency.
Becky (not her real name) is a 17 year old young woman on the Inspire! ESF NEET Programme in Hackney, operated by a youth organisation called YOH. After dropping out of college she initially came to YOH as a place to meet friends. Tony, a youth worker at the centre, gradually got to know her circumstances and explained to her how the project could help her get back into education or training, with the aim of getting a job.
Becky had suffered a family loss, which had affected her ability to cope at college. She had enjoyed the social side of college, but when her friends started dropping out she succumbed to peer pressure and also stopped attending. Youth worker Tony has encouraged Becky to overcome these setbacks and start looking positively towards the future.
After eligibility checks and a basic skills assessment, Becky met Tony for a series of one-to-one sessions. They looked at planning her future and the kind of training programme that would support it. With Tony’s help she was able to complete a person-centred action plan. This recorded her skills, qualifications and learning styles and plans to start a business administration apprenticeship. They agreed on a series of training sessions that would enable her to improve her CV, develop interview skills and join a pre-apprenticeship programme. (These help young people who need to improve their maths, English and experience before getting an apprenticeship.)
Becky took part in a series of group employability sessions at YOH, which included producing a CV to send to future apprenticeship employers and improving her interview skills. She engaged well in the sessions, which enabled her to learn from others in the same situation and use the group as a support mechanism. She also met Tony for one-to-ones in which they researched possible pre-apprenticeship programmes.
Becky and Tony found a business administration pre-apprenticeship programme where she could study maths and English while gaining work experience in the sector. With Tony’s support, Becky was successful in completing the application process and starting on the programme. As part of the programme Becky carries out a work placement at YOH 1 day a week to get the office experience she needs.
Her sociable side
Becky has also discovered that her sociable side is useful in engaging with and supporting other young people. She recently helped Tony present a YOH youth work session and is keen to develop her interest in this area alongside her apprenticeship. Having built up trust with Tony, Becky is now able to channel her energy into positive activity. She’s decided to apply for a part time job, seeking Tony’s help to tailor her CV for local employers.
Before Becky’s energy went into socialising but now her energy is going into something constructive. Now when she sees me she asks me ‘What else can I do?’ and is keen to take steps for the future.
Read more about the European Social Fund 2007 to 2013