Memorandum submitted by Henry James Riley, The Alison Riley Memorial Foundation

 

Strategies for Identification

1.

Strategies for the identification of young people at risk of falling into the "Not in Education, Employment or Training" category are already in place, they are not being managed effectively. What is required is that the authorities engage these young people earlier than is presently being done and to understand that a number of them have issues which are borne out of being within family backgrounds where there may be a degree of disfunction caused primarily by parental alcohol or drugs dependency or both which may go back to their grandparents generation.

2.

These parents and grandparents may also have suffered similar disfunction in their childhoods and have spent much of their lives relying on benefits. This historical imbedded culture may have created either a "cannot help" or "will not help" ethos towards their children or grand children.

The wheel continues to turn and the present day young people may be subjected to similar social, financial and educational exclusion. Until the wheel is stopped there will be no improvement.

3.

Many of these young people will have no interest in being academics, they may achieve basic reading, writing and arithmetic and other simple school subjects. As they may be slow learners with schools and teachers being driven by Government targets and concentrating on able students these less able young people will falter, therefore forcing them to follow an educational path which incorporates many subjects that will not interest them only adds to their difficulties, which will create a frustration and friction between teacher and student that is counterproductive and usually creates a situation where the young person may be excluded or have their time at school greatly reduced .

4.

To develop a successful strategy for identification of young people who may slide into the "Not in Education, Employment or Training" category requires schools to highlight these less able students around the age of twelve as they turn thirteen they should be invited to apply for pre-apprenticeship vocational training programmes with reading, writing and arithmetic related to the technical theory of the programme.

Services and Programmes to Support

5.

There are a great number of successfully and well designed projects operating around the UK, however it is questionable whether they are being funded adequately as the protocols and procedures in place through LSC may limit providers to be large national organisations with an interest in generating profits for shareholders rather than the interest being in ensuring sufficient funding cascades down to providing adequate resourses for trainers "at the coal face".

6.

Young people attend these projects but many of them are short term and seem to aim at providing there students with confidence and basic numeracy and literacy skills, young people perceive these as a "back to school" scenario and become resistant.

An effective approach will be to develop more practical projects with an end result that could lead to employment within a Community Co-operative Organisation.

7.

A pilot project was started in Ferndown, Dorset during October 2003.

The programme, which was centred around Motor Vehicle Skills Training initially provided instruction for young persons from Ferndown Upper School and young persons from Wimborne Pupil Referal Unit. The facilities available were a single vehicle garage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.

As the young people were predominantely from "the hard to engage" group and were either excuded from Upper School or under threat of exclusion instruction was restricted to basic vehicle technology, component awareness and repair principals using as much practical experience as possible. The young people attended two days weekly and remained at school the other three days.

The project was deemed a success as five of the six young people on the programme improved considerably over the twelve week period.

9.

The project was expanded by the erection of a small purpose built workshop (575 sq ft) on the site of Ferndown Youth and Community Centre, the project was closed during April 2006 although it was engaging 46 students from various groups, 13-14 year old students on a Pre-apprenticeship Motor Vehicle Skills Training Programme, 16-18 year old young people on a pre E 2E programme and 16-18 year old young people on an E2E programme. The project was funded by capital grants from East Dorset Community Partnership, Crime and Safety Group. Schools paid for the students they sent. Pre E2E and E2E programmes were not properly funded as LSC funding was coming via an LSC registered trainer (NACRO) and although the project staff reduced their fees the time frame in which the pre E2E and E2E programmes had to be completed and the increased amount of information to be recorded reduced the time participants could spend on technical theory and practical assignments, therefore their knowledge and skill development may be questionable.

10.

Dorset County Council closed the workshop as there were internal issues within the Youth Club and their procedures required a Youth Worker on site at all times.

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The Efectiveness of the Governments Strategy for young people "Not in Eduction, Employment or Training"

11.

Although there is many projects and training for young people "Not in Education, Employment or Training" they are principally located within education centres or colleges which are the establishments the group does not wish to attend as a considerable number of them have had disappointing learning experiences within these establishments.

12.

A number of employers, especially from the small to medium sector service industries seem reluctant to offer training to young people owing to a perception (brought about by the continuing reports within the media) that they are irresponsible, have poor discipline and are unreliable. This may be the principal reason for a lack of enthusiasm from employers.

13.

The Government seem unable to overcome employers concerns. This may require a different approach. To convince employers that contrary to what they read, see or hear within the media that the majority of young people are responsible etc this must be demonstrated by some form of documentation.

14.

With an employee representative describing the issue of around 20% of young people falling within the "Not in Education, Employment or Training" group an emergency the Government strategy is failing a vital section of our communities.

 

The likely impact of raising the participation age on strategies for addressing the needs of young people "Not in Education, Employment or Training"

15.

The practicalities of raising the age for young people up to 20 or 22 should present few difficulties.

The impact should be an advantage as it could enable these young people who are slow learners to benefit subject to there being additional financial resources provided. If it is another Government ploy to massage numbers by media spin without sufficient funding there will be no benefit and there will be a risk that young people will be let down again.

The opportunities and future prospects in education, training and employment for 16-18 year olds.

16.

The explanations and social backgrounds of the majority of young people "not in education, employment or training" are well documented as are many suggested solutions. Within Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole the numbers of 16-18 year olds known to Connexions, the estimate of young people who are "not in education, employment or training" and the percentage of 16-18 year old young people whose current activity is unknown has remained consistent during 2006, 2007 and 2008 it would be fair to assume that LSC for the area has managed to contain the situation reasonably well.

17.

Not withstanding the information in paragraph 16 which indicates there are estimated to be 1025 young people who fall into the target group. This is a serious number which will be all the more serious if a number of these young people are the same people year on year.

18.

There are many opportunities for young people, will these opportunities be available if public spending cuts have to affect education. There are many training organisations around England and Wales, some providing school students with "day release" work experience, a number may train them in a variety of vocational careers, and however do they actually train them for employment? Knowledge of some of these programmes indicate students start at 9:00am and finish at anything from 2:45pm-3:45pm (a school day), how can this be training for employment. Young people may leave education to move directly into employment and the transition from 09:00am starts to what may be anything from 07:00 to 08:30 starts may become a "culture shock".

19.

What may be required is a rethink of strategy to provide opportunities for employment training and at the same time prepare to look outside "the box" for alternative revenue streams to ensure slow or challenging learners are provided with the length of time they require.

20.

A programme which would have partially included this was submitted to David Lammy MP around September 2007, a revised programme was submitted to Jim Knight MP during October 2008, neither of these Ministers responded. It is disappointing at a time when we are trying to educate young people to show respect and responsibility two ministers within education ministries cannot display a common courtesy by a reply.

 

 

My qualification for submitting this document is my experience co-ordinating a Motor Vehicle Skills Training Programme for young people, many who were disaffected or excluded from mainstream education. In addition my voluntary work with challenging young people and residing within a community on a housing estate which is listed in the top ten of Dorset County Councils Indices of Mass Deprivation

 

 

December 2009