The National Youth Agency’s Employability programme, supported by Barclays, has smashed its target to deliver employability and life skills training to young people, bringing support to more than 112,000 young people throughout 2015.
Working directly with a number of expert youth delivery organisations across the UK, the programme added value to existing projects, providing youth work deliverers with the flexibility to meet the specific, local needs of the young people they work with. Activity included sessions on C.V writing, interview techniques, understanding wage slips and developing business plans or funding bids.
Catherine Bishop, director of programmes at the National Youth Agency said, “This programme has been an enormous success. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to support so many young people to plan for a more positive future. Our target was to support 100,000 young people. However by utilising the expertise of youth work deliverers, we were able to exceed that target substantially. Importantly, this programme has enabled us to invest in the youth sector at a particularly challenging time, allowing youth organisations to do what they do best – provide dedicated support to young people.“
The high levels of unemployment amongst BAME young men were the focus of Elevation Networks’ project. It used Barclays support to supplement their Lambeth 360* project, aiming to increase routes into education and employment.
Young men were referred from job centres, introduced to a range of employers and offered opportunities to work shadow employees. They undertook pre-employment training, mentoring and visits to work places designed to inspire and increase their career aspirations. The Lambeth 360* project engaged 156 young people from the borough.
Knowledge about money and budgeting was also identified as a key focus for many projects. Working with groups of young people aged 15-21 years from both Protestant and Catholic religions in the Armagh and Newry areas, Youth Action Northern Ireland delivered money management and budgeting training.
The training proved very popular as it got the young people involved in practical tasks such as planning a project on a budget. They were surprised at how far they could stretch their money and how important it was to compare prices. When the group applied what they’d learned, they started to display a real understanding of budgeting and a growing awareness that what seems like a large sum can rapidly dwindle once all the costs and expenses are factored in.
One young person commented, “I thought we could never spend £600 on our project but straight away a bus was going to cost us £100 and that shocked me. We had to then think about asking other charities and businesses for help so that we could do what we wanted rather than paying for everything ourselves.”
The young people’s learning went further. Previously they believed the minimum wage was acceptable salary. By the end of the project they had recognised its limitations, motivating them to strive harder, improve their CVs and focus efforts on becoming more employable to secure a better wage and a more prosperous future.