A the University of Northampton, experts within the Faculty of Education and Humanities, alongside colleagues in Professional Service and Student Mentors, and two external organisations have been running the ‘Skills to Succeed’ project; which develops opportunities to support young people aged 16-24 to enter employment.
Supporting young people who are ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)’, to enter the work place is a key UK Government priority. Nationally 7.3 per cent of all young people aged 16-24 were classified as NEET in 2014, figures show that of those categorised as NEET, 39 per cent have Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).
The project is designed specifically to widen and develop work based experience for young people who fall within the SEND and Looked After Children (LAC) provisions. The project aims raise aspirations, develop skills and enhance the employability prospects of young people through traineeships within the University. The young people are paired University student ambassadors who mentor the trainees throughout the project.
Wendy Turner, Programme Lead BA Childhood and Youth said: “The pilot year of the Skills to Succeed Project has already seen five young people spend fourteen weeks in trainee placements across the University. The young people have taken up roles with catering, administration, library and security teams; supporting the development of valuable, work-ready skills and confidence enhancing their future career prospects.”
The Skills to Succeed project works in partnership with the Northgate School Beehive Centre and RightResolution CIC, two organisations which support young people who are vulnerable to becoming NEET. Amarjit Pawar, Director of Right Resolution said: “We’re delighted to have had our young people take part in the Skills to Succeed project. The project has help them progress very well, one of the young people involved has built her confidence to such a degree that she has applied to study at College; something that she wouldn’t have considered before being involved in the project.”
Student Mentor Emily, a second year Childhood and Youth student at the University of Northampton said: “I’ve been mentoring one young person as she undertook a work placement at the University’s restaurant. It has been fantastic to see her build in confidence and develop her skills. Being a mentor has honed my skills set too, I’ve developed my communications skills, as well as my empathy skills.”
Skills to Succeed is an approach to meeting the University of Northampton Changemaker+ Challenges involving not only academics but professional services, student ambassadors, partner organisations and young people at risk of becoming NEET.
Pictured (L-R): Mark Blaber, Wendy Turner, Wendy Yarnell and Liam Norton from the University of Northampton