Press release

£30 million boost to improve the lives of Britain's most vulnerable young people

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Social impact bonds will lead to innovation to tackle NEET (not in education, employment or training) issue.

A new £30 million package to help improve the prospects of up to 20,000 vulnerable young people was announced today by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The funding will help disadvantaged young people improve their prospects and prevent them from falling into a situation where they are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

This investment is made up of 2 new cross-government programmes specifically targeting 14 to 24-year-olds, helping them to develop crucial skills to improve their educational achievement and employability:

  • the Youth Engagement Fund aims to support up to 18,000 young people in over 100 schools in England to help them improve their skills and employability
  • the Fair Chance Fund aims to move over 2,000 homeless young people into sustainable accommodation, as well as employment, education or training over 3 years

The funding will be delivered through social impact bonds (SIBs), an innovative way of solving complex social problems. SIBs are a payment by results system and will see investors fund innovative interventions to prevent young people from becoming NEET, with government only paying if the initiatives are successful and positive outcomes are achieved. Organisations, charities and their investors will bid for a share of the £30 million pot of government funding, giving a boost to the best programmes.

The types of programmes that will be funded through these bonds are likely to include those that will reduce the long term dependency of young people on benefits, decrease the likelihood of offending, or support a specific group of homeless young adults to help them gain sustainable accommodation.

Similar social impact bonds exist to support young people at risk of becoming NEET already – for example Tomorrow’s People provide intensive support for young people in Tower Hamlets. Their aim is to reach 600 young people at risk of being NEET over 3 years via a system of ‘super coaches’ who give intensive mentoring support to young people.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

Our most vulnerable young people can feel like they’re stuck in a rut and cast aside by society, with no future or prospects to help them get the skills, confidence or opportunities they need to succeed.

Our £30 million package opens up the chance for people to invest in programmes that deliver real results. It means that thousands of young people struggling in schools, or living on the streets will have the support they need to improve their educational achievement, get employment and get into sustainable housing.

We’re going in the right direction with youth unemployment down by 98,000 over the past year, but we need to do more to prevent disadvantaged young people from becoming just another statistic. Helping all our young people get back on track needs innovation so that we can prevent young people from falling out of education, employment or training.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said:

Britain is leading the world in using innovative finance models to tackle social problems and transform people’s lives. Through social impact bonds we are opening up resources to communities, businesses and charities to help change the lives of vulnerable people and with over 7 central government departments involved in the 2 programmes, we are taking a whole of government approach to supporting this group.

Further details on the Youth Engagement Fund will be published soon. In the meantime, you can register your interest in the fund by emailing yef@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk.

Today’s announcement is part of the government’s wider strategy to support young people into work or education.

Alongside raising the age to which young people must stay in education or training, the government is reforming GCSEs, A levels and vocational qualifications while also encouraging schools to form links with employers so that young people gain the skills and qualifications they need to secure a job, apprenticeship or university place.

Youth Engagement Fund

The £16 million Youth Engagement Fund aims to improve educational achievement and employability, helping to prevent young people from becoming NEET.

Jointly funded between the Cabinet Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Justice, it will focus on helping disadvantaged young people aged 14 to 17-years-old to participate and succeed in education or training, improving their employability, reducing their long term dependency on benefits, and reducing their likelihood of offending. The Fund aims to support up to 18,000 young people in over 100 schools in England.

Fair Chance Fund

The £15 million Fair Chance Fund will support vulnerable, homeless NEET young people in England between the ages of 18 and 24 into housing, education and work. Specialist organisations, including those from the voluntary sector, will have the freedom to run innovative projects and schemes that will give these young people the best possible opportunities to move forward and they will be rewarded for achieving real results.

Jointly funded by the Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government, it aims to move over 2,000 homeless, young people into sustainable accommodation as well as employment, education or training over 3 years. This support will enable the group to turn their lives around as well as generating significant savings for the taxpayer.