Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Tackling the NEET problem - how local authorities are getting young people back into education, employment and training

While the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training continues to rise, a report published today by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, shows that local authorities can make a big impact on reducing the number of young people in this category.
 
Reducing the numbers of young people not in education, employment or training: what works and why, highlights the strategies, partnerships and activities which 12 local authorities have successfully employed to attract some of the most difficult to reach young people into work or learning.
 
The most effective local authorities work closely with a range of partners, including those from the voluntary and community sectors, to understand the circumstances and needs of young people, tailoring their programmes accordingly. For example, putting on flexible, short training programmes at venues such as local social centres and youth clubs really helped to engage young people in learning who had previously had negative experiences of school.
 
The voice of young people echoes throughout the report, with inspectors having spoken to over 700 young people and made visits to 28 schools, 18 colleges and 84 voluntary sector, training and other providers from across the country between May and October 2009.
 
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, said:
 
“There is no typical young person who is 'NEET’. Many social and personal reasons may lead to someone finding themselves in this situation, but this report is clear in showing what can be done to help young people with even the most complex needs into education, employment and training. I hope local authorities and their partners learn from the examples featured in this report so that they can fully contribute to creating better life chances for all young people.”
 
Working in close collaboration with schools, community organisations and voluntary groups, local authorities reached out to young people by setting up interview and CV workshops, organising volunteering opportunities as well as facilitating work-placements and management training programmes. Together with the valuable opportunity to gain relevant vocational qualifications, these initiatives were successful in opening doors for young people to move onto college, apprenticeships, or jobs.
 
Following a visit by a Connexions adviser, a homeless girl enrolled on a mayor’s training programme and through work experience, focused teaching and good support she achieved a qualification and was awarded a one-year traineeship within the council. She said, “Even though I was going through a lot of personal stuff, the support of everyone on the programme got me through. When I heard I’d got the job with the council, I was ecstatic. It’s my first job…and a really good opportunity for me to turn my life around.”
 
Young people were engaged by the programmes offered, sometimes going on to become facilitators, tutors and mentors themselves. One man took part in a young managers’ course to boost active citizenship in local services. He successfully completed an accredited course in developing participation skills with young people and has since gone on to become a champion of local youth democracy, supporting his peers and promoting young people’s involvement in local services.
 
Challenging, motivational and inspirational advisers, teachers and tutors also played a vital role in encouraging young people to make the most of education, training and employment opportunities. Mentors and staff who drew upon sometimes difficult moments in their own life, such as experiences of racism and drug abuse, were able to build a strong rapport and understanding with their learners, helping young people to come to terms with their own issues and encouraging them to see the benefits of a commitment to training and education.
 
The most effective partnerships recognised factors, such as poor school attendance and a family history of unemployment, most often associated with disengagement. These partnerships focused on giving early support to the young people most affected by such factors, and finding ways of preventing young people from needing to be permanently excluded from school.
  
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 
1. The report will be available on the Ofsted website www.ofsted.gov.uk
2. Between May and October 2009, inspectors visited 12 local authorities to identify the factors that contributed to the improvements so that others could learn from the good practice. During the survey, inspectors spoke to over 700 young people and made short visits to 28 schools, 18 colleges and 84 voluntary sector, training and other providers. A full list of schools, colleges and other providers is available in the back of the report. The 12 local authorities featured are:
 
Barnsley
Birmingham
Blackburn with Darwen
Blackpool
Dudley
Lambeth
Leicester
Lewisham
Medway
Middlesbrough
North East Lincolnshire
Torbay
 
3.The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.
 
4. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 020 7421 5866 or via Ofsted's enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am - 6.30pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359

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