Since 2010, youth unemployment, and the question of how to effectively engage as many of Europe’s young people as possible in the world of work, has been at the heart of the EU policy agenda. In addition, the ‘Tackling Early School Leaving from Education, and Training in Europe: Strategies, Policies and Measures – Eurydice and Cedefop Report’ (EC/EACEA/Cedefor, 2014) acknowledges that, despite improvement, the rate of young people leaving school early is still above the 10% target. Here in Northampton, we’re working to support education and employment through our Changemaker + Challenge one – help children and young people flourish and learn.
Cristina Devecchi, Wendy Turner and Jane Murray, academics from the Faculty of Education and Humanities, have been successful in gaining Erasmus+ funding for a research project called ‘Below 10’. ‘Below 10’ is a three-year project specifically addressing early school leaving and those ‘Not in Employment, Education or Training’ (NEETs).
The project will develop innovative pedagogical approaches, alongside multi-disciplinary collaboration between teachers, local communities, local employers, young people and their families, and universities. The nine partners, across six EU countries, comprise schools and school networks, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), and University research centres.
Reducing the number of NEETs is one of the explicit objectives of the Youth Guarantee, a 2013 EU initiative, which aims to ensure that all young people aged 15–24 receive a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education2.
The team at the University of Northampton will be responsible for developing the training and pedagogical approaches, devise the research strategy, and monitoring the effectiveness of the multi-disciplinary collaboration.
Dr Devecchi said: “The team is excited about the opportunity to continue the work done during the previous EU funded project Success at School which developed an innovative approach based on mentoring and volunteering to support young people and their teachers. I was delighted to be asked to join this new partnership and put some of the previous project’s recommendations in practice. Wendy and Jane bring a wealth of experience in working with teachers, young people and NGOs and we are looking forward to making ‘Below 10’ a real contribution to the Education Changemaker + Challenge.”
 EC/EACEA/Cedefor (2014) Tackling Early School Leaving from Education, and Training in Europe: Strategies, Policies and Measures – Eurydice and Cedefop Report. Brussels: EC/EACEA/Cedefor
 Eurofound (2016), Exploring the diversity of NEETs, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.