Memorandum submitted by 100% Participation Group

 

 

The following response is from the 100% Participation Group - a Lincolnshire Multi-Agency group focusing on 14-19 delivery initiatives across EET including Lincolnshire County Council.

 

Strategies for the identification of Young People at risk of becoming NEET

 

Young people are most likely to achieve economic wellbeing in adulthood if they are engaged in EET (Education, Employment or Training). In order to achieve this, its imperative that strategies exist to support prevention work, informed by accurate diagnostic screening, and that a partnership is formed between the Young Person, Parent, School / LA and employers to provide high quality provision, pastoral support and transition planning.

 

It's important to ensure that NEET is seen by all as a temporary situation and barriers to engagement are removed, cycles of worklessness are broken down with resilience measures and provision identified to ensure sustainable entry to EET as soon as they're ready or able. This process is supported through the September and January Guarantees and through programmes and support that raises a young person and their families understanding, aspirations and motivation.

 

Some groups of young people have higher NEET rates than the general population, targeted resources and interventions are critical and Foundation Learning programmes (i.e sub level 2 provision) such as Entry to Employment provide vital opportunities and appropriate support for young people to raise aspirations to make a successful transition from school to achieving economic wellbeing and independence in adulthood. The committee should be mindful that the timing of the commissioning of this work must be linked to the needs of young people and their communities and not have synergy with FE and WBL cycles automatically.

 

It may be necessary for some young people to have a gap in their learning opportunity, due to their circumstances. Young people should be able to choose the best pathway for them. e.g. it may be appropriate for a young mother to spend some time as a fulltime parent and engage in formal learning, possibly part-time, when their child is old enough to access childcare (the Care to Learn benefits package helps in this regard).

 

In 2004 the level of NEET in Lincolnshire was 5.9%. In 2007/08 the level of NEET in Lincolnshire had fallen to 4.1% and though below the national average, the rate has been rising in the last year, mirroring regional and national trends.

It is our view that no single agency can support all the elements required to reduce NEET; Young People, Schools, FE Colleges, WBL Training Providers, Parents, LA Targeted Youth Support Services and employers all have a key role to play, good practice and successes should be captured and celebrated more - creating a 'feel good' factor for professionals and young people is an important motivator.

Lincolnshire County Council continues to recognise NEET as a priority for action through;

 

LPSA and LAA targets.

 

Youth Offending Service Plan target of ensuring that 70% of young people subject to Final Warnings or Court Order's, are in suitable full time education, training or employment.

 

Lincolnshire and Rutland 14-19 Strategic Plan includes a strategy that enables young people develop their talents and fulfil potential by implementing a Learner Entitlement that places learners at the heart of activity and supports progression to further education, skilled employment or higher education. The plan aims to improve performance in 5 key areas:

 

Participation and Engagement

Attainment

Progression

Collaboration and Partnership

Quality Improvement

 

These five themes inform locality delivery plans are focused in the drive to reduce those young people who are NEET. The strategy and delivery plan for NEET is therefore an element of the 14-19 Strategic Plan assuming the support and engagement of key partners and collaborative structures associated with14-19 developments.

 

Our NEET Action Plan describes a strategy to meet the challenges and a Delivery Plan identifies the actions, resources, roles and responsibilities and timeframes to achieve the objectives of the plan: Prevention, Intervention and Sustainability.

 

In addition to the Every Child Matters agenda, six themes are emerging as being crucial to enabling young people to make successful NEET transitions. The themes are early identification, learning opportunities and provision, information, advice and guidance, personalised and targeted support, employer engagement, and partnership working. A number of key drivers have been identified:

 

Priority 1 - Early identification & intervention

 

Actions to secure improvement:

 

Ensure those children and young people who are at most risk of becoming NEET are identified as early as possible through effective recognition of potential issues, data sharing and referral as appropriate - In Lincolnshire this occurs from year 8 with Diagnostic screening and from year 9 with Transition planning and support.

Ensure there are robust tracking systems and data analysis is in place so young people who become NEET are able to be supported and re-engaged with learning as soon as possible.

Ensure that positive activities and targeted interventions and support are available when and where young people need it, to increase their self-esteem and resilience.

Ensure that appropriate learning provision is provided that reduces the risk factors and improves the motivation of the young person.

 

Priority 2 - Learning opportunities and provision

 

Actions to secure improvement:

 

Placing and referral support.

The September and January Guarantee.

Into e2e and Motiv8 programmes provide a link to young people who are at risk of disengagement.

Young Peoples aspirations and motivation is raised through Positive Activities for Young People, Go for it and other engagement activities.

Ensure those commissioning provision are aware of the needs of young people at risk of becoming NEET through learners' voice.

Ensuring a range of high quality provision (accredited and non-accredited, formal and informal) in various locations is available to re-engage those at risk of becoming NEET or who are NEET, including opportunities for personal development and the acquisition of employability skills.

Increase the opportunities available to improve literacy and numeracy skills.

 

Priority 3 - Personalised support

 

Actions to secure improvement:

 

Ensure each young person at risk of becoming NEET or who is NEET has the support of a 'trusted' individual who will act as lead professional to help remove the barriers to successful engagement.

Ensuring a range of positive activities are made available to those young people most need personal development opportunities in order to build self esteem, confidence and aspiration.

Develop opportunities to ensure those requiring additional support have access to peer or adult mentors.

 

Priority 4 - Information advice and guidance

 

Actions to secure improvement:

 

Ensure effective IAG is available to other adults who can positively influence young people's choices e.g. family, carers, teachers, youth workers, other professionals.

All personnel working with vulnerable young people are regularly updated with careers support and information.

 

Priority 5 - Employer engagement

 

Actions to secure improvement:

 

Create opportunities for employers to be involved in processes and influence future direction of travel, policies and procedures.

Develop a promotion strategy to Increase the range, level and quality of employer engagement and work related learning opportunities.

Broaden the range of different Industrial sectors offering work related learning opportunities including the public and third sectors.

Communicate effectively with employers, their network and representatives - avoiding duplicated contact by multiple agencies striving to achieve the same outcomes.

Educate employers about the benefits of a young, diverse, well trained workforce and about WFD Issues and legislation, support and opportunities.

Ensure that opportunities offered by employers are legal, safe and appropriate.

Ensure that employers that employ young people but do not provide accredited training (ENT) are converted to Apprenticeships wherever possible.

Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) is gathered and used to inform decisions and action.

Data and Information sharing is encouraged.

Issues are dealt with promptly and effectively.

Ensure there is a robust system for vacancies generated to Training and IAG provider via AVol

 

These elements have been incorporated into our Delivery Plan.

 

Services and programmes to support those Young People at risk of becoming NEET, and to reduce the numbers and address the needs of those that have persistently become NEET.

 

It is important to track then tackle the underlying causes of a young person's entry in to the NEET group effectively to ensure they are given the skills to enter and sustain a place in EET.

 

Young people are entitled to support to make positive choices both within school and about their progression after Year 11. Young people need access to information to make an informed choice the skills and support to manage transition. Young people should have access to appropriate support, information, advice and guidance (IAG) and Careers Education and Guidance (CEG).

 

The Lincolnshire strategy for tackling NEET will be monitored and developed by the 100% Participation Group which has representatives from the major stakeholders including schools, Lincolnshire's FE Colleges, Work Based Learning Providers and the Local Authority.

 

The 100% Participation Group reports to the 14-19 Strategic Partnership and the Children and Young Peoples Strategic Partnership through the Achieve Economic Well Being Group, who manage the outcomes and oversee the implementation, of the NEET strategy and delivery plan. The plan will then be extended to incorporate further strategies linked to raising the participation age.

 

The Delivery Plan builds on and integrates with developments in locality working, implementation of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and the Targeted Youth Support (TYS) Strategy. Issues of diversity and equality will be addressed through the provision of personalised support embraced within the plan.

 

We are not seeking a 'one size fits all' solution to the challenge of NEET but need to ensure that there is an adequately resourced, managed, core offer developed which is adapted to be more responsive to local need and delivered by each locality team against County standards - this is supported with a comprehensive WFD/CPD programme.

 

The Plan will be reviewed, revised and updated after two years.

 

Tackling NEET in Lincolnshire

 

The Lincolnshire plan builds on the three key themes of the government's strategy for reducing NEET which are about:

 

Prevention

Stopping young people becoming NEET (aged 16-18) by motivating and engaging them and offering them attractive learning options suited to their needs both whilst they are at school as well as throughout the 14-19 period of learning - understanding these issues with underpinning data and periodic review is critical.

 

Intervention

An Intelligence led approach to knowing what young people are doing and being in a position to challenge their expectations and to provide support and opportunities when and where they need them to enable successful transitions and positive engagement.

 

The committee needs to consider the openness of information across agencies and the pressures of Data Protection brings versus meeting the needs of young people e.g. 18-19 year olds and data sharing with Job centre Plus.

 

Sustainability

Developing the resilience of young people to help those with a history of disengagement to overcome their apparent disaffection and any barriers to their progression.

 

It is essential for partner organisations to work together to support young people as no single organisation will be able to provide appropriately for all young people. Collaborative and partnership working must underpin all work and this is a key strategic aim of the 14-19 Strategic Plan. The 14-19 Strategic Partnership is critical to promoting the partnership working needed and together with the Children and Young Peoples Strategic Partnership through the Achieve Economic Well-being Outcomes Group will need to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of partnership working and their impact to:

 

Prevent young people from disengaging in the first place throughout 14-19 period of learning.

Support those young people with additional or acute needs (e.g. those with learning difficulties and disabilities, those looked after, carers, young parents and youth offenders).

Find out what young people think to help shape service provision and delivery.

Ensure successful practice is shared and becomes embedded within/as mainstream provision.

Capitalise on the strengths of the community and the voluntary sector.

 

In tackling NEET, an ethos of inclusion that contributes to the five outcomes of the Every Child Matters Agenda, particularly to the raising of young people's capacity to enjoy and achieve in learning, is also being delivered.

 

Themes for the Lincolnshire NEET action plan.

1. DCSF have published a NEET Strategy and a NEET Toolkit - the Lincolnshire NEET Action Plan is based upon the guidance received.

Most of the support provided to young people in Lincolnshire is appropriate, but it's clear from below average attainment performance and increasing levels of NEET, that too many young people are still not being enabled to achieve their full potential.

 

It's important that action emanating from this plan contributes to a thorough analysis of the needs of those becoming NEET and identification of those at highest risk of becoming NEET. Timely, accurate assessment of the support required by our most vulnerable young people will be critical to the success of any intervention work.

 

The effectiveness of the Governments NEET Strategy.

 

Media portrayal of young people is often negative: feckless, unmotivated, lazy, Raising the positive profile of young people is an important element of this work - it is important that the committee recognises that this negativity perpetuates this cycle of discrimination and oppression.

Reducing the proportion of 16 to 18 year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) is a priority for the Government and The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) have recently published three useful documents relating to NEET, these are;

NEET Strategy

NEET Toolkit

NEET Flexible provision

DCSF publishes figures for the percentage of 16-18 year olds in each local authority in England who are NEET. Previously Connexions partnerships were set targets to reduce the number of young people NEET, targets are now set for each Local Authority.

 

A number of different definitions of NEET exist. The original Connexions definition of NEET did not include young people in personal development opportunities, such as volunteering. This was used for Government measurement of NEET until November 2006.

 

DCSF figures now show the average of the November, December and January counts for each local authority. There are a number of supporting Indicators;

 

1. The proportion of 16-18 year olds whose current activity is not known

 

2. The % NEET amongst groups more likely than average to be NEET

 

3. The number of young people joining the NEET group (as a percentage of the number NEET)

 

4. The number of young people leaving the NEET group to re-engage in education, employment or training

 

5. The destinations of 16 year olds completing compulsory education in the November following Year 11

 

Local EET and NEET intelligence thus enables us to assess the effectiveness of an area's activity to ensure young people are retained in further learning when they complete compulsory education.

 

However we feel that there is insufficient focus on the needs or rural communities, seasonal and low skill / pay economies and rurally isolated young people, delivery of a needs led service continues to be challenging as much of the Government strategy is based upon an Urban model.

 

Government need more 'linked policies' and synergy between DWP and DCSF policies to ensure 16, 17 and 18+ NEET clients receive appropriate interventions. Consistency is required with definitions and the application of the phrase NEET e.g. 16-18 year old NEET's versus the needs of other's under 25.

 

The likely impact of raising the participation age on strategies for addressing the needs of Young People who are NEET.

 

There is an increased focus on young people remaining engaged in full or part time education, work related training and development opportunities (including volunteering and community service). The DCSF announcement about increasing the compulsory participation age in the Raising Expectations document as part of the Machinery of Government reforms will have a profound impact on the way we view NEET in future. The raising of the compulsory participation age, to 17 by 2013 and to 18 by 2015, is a priority for the local authority.

 

For young people aspirations to be fully met a key driver for Raising Expectations strategy will be parents, professional's and employers and the young person must all be involved in shaping provision and opportunities to meet their demands and expectations.

 

FE College performance monitoring (QSR and MLP) and the increasing importance of Level 2 as the gateway for accessing further training and qualifications and predicting future economic well being make the step between Entry levels and Level one and entry to Level 2 opportunities very challenging..

 

In Lincolnshire many young people are hampered by rural isolation, with little access to public transport, Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG), meaningful provision and support and therefore choices can be limited - provision therefore needs to be targeted and responsive.

 

The role of the Education Welfare Service will need clarification to ensure that those young people that choose WBL, FE or another progression route are supported and their engagement is monitored and actions taken where a young person has disengaged i.e. does this become a monitoring role for the LA with its new contracting function, Training Provider, FE College or OFSTED?

 

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

 

While we embrace the current initiatives of;

 

CAP / Area wide prospectus

September Guarantee

January Guarantee

Care to Work

Backing Young Britain

Roots into Work

Future Jobs Fund

 

We are mindful that if the Raising of Compulsory Participation Age is to be truly learner responsive then the local employers, Employment and Skills Board and all of the RCPA stakeholders need to engage with this work now.

 

Tracking destinations will be critical to monitor the success of this area of work and this should include data on 16, 17, 18, 19-24 for those in an extended guarantee group - data gathering and analysis should be a priority.

 

Ultimately the measure of success will be participation in Level 2 and 3 programmes and young people achieving Economic Wellbeing and the other ECM outcomes.

 

We are mindful of the Milburn Report recommendations on the social divide and access to the professions and urge the Committee to consider this in their deliberations.

 

December 2009