For the last few years the NEET rate has made national and local news. The rate refers to the percentage of young people who are not in Employment, Education or Training. In Bradford the rate for our 16-18 year olds is 4.9%, down by 0.9% from June 2014. The rate is significantly lower than the national average of 7.1% and is bucking the national trend which is rising.
Prospects, the education, employment and training company, working for Bradford Council, works with young people who are NEET to help them return to education, find employment or start training. Prospects offers a range of services, all free for the young person seeking support, impartial advice and encouragement to make a difference to their lives.
There are many opportunities available for young people. They can start a college course, an apprenticeship, stay at school, start a job with training or attend a programme with a training provider. Advisers from Prospects support young people in Bradford find a suitable path. But the question remains why there are still teenagers not in training, employment or education?
Each individual has their own story. A young person may have fallen behind at school and dropped out, or come from a troubled or dysfunctional family background and have a record of school exclusion.
At Prospects we work with thousands of young people across the country. Helping them find the right route and break the cycle of disengagement.
One young person Prospects helped was Jade*. Jade is 17 and lives at home with her mum, dad and brother. Over the years she has moved from school to school because of bullying. When she left school her parents became worried about her future, particularly as she refused to even discuss training or college with anyone. Instead Jade would stay up late and rarely leave her bedroom.
Mark, an adviser from Prospects, tried visiting Jade at home and was able to speak to her parents. Jade’s parents were worried because Jade had been told by local teenage mums that she was ‘better off with a kid!’ and this was discouraging her further from accessing training. Mark kept working with Jade and it became clear that she had more skills than she initially realised. Her main problem was a lack of confidence. Mark knew choosing the right provision was essential if Jade was going to succeed.
Mark gave Jade details of the Prince’s Trust Team Programme, and although Jade was apprehensive both about travelling and the course in general she agreed to take part. Mark arranged for a member of the Prince’s Trust to support Jade in her application and help her see the benefits of attending the course.
To ensure Jade was comfortable with arrangements Mark took Jade along to where the course was being held and showed her the bus routes, agreeing to meet her at the bus stop and walk the final stage together.
Jade joined the course and has become one of the most outgoing young people on it, her maths and English skills have developed and she has gained work experience through a placement.
Overall since being supported by Prospects Jade’s confidence has increased, her basic skills have improved, she is more work ready and is planning to go to college.
Jade has come a long way in such a short space of time. Mark has kept in touch with her parents and they are overjoyed at the service Prospects provided, so much so that Mark is now working with Jade’s younger brother who has not been in mainstream school since he was 12 years old.
In Bradford young people can get help and impartial advice from Prospects in a number of ways at www.virtualconnexionsbradford.co.uk, by telephone 01274 377800, on Twitter @ConnexionsBfd, Facebook Connexions Bradford or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We support young people to make the best decisions for themselves.
Jenny Cryer, Prospects Regional Operations Director, said:
"We are thrilled that the Bradford NEET rate is so low again this month. However, many young people like Jade need extra support to make the transition from childhood into successful adulthood.
"There are many reasons young people become disengaged with education. It is important for these young people, their local communities and society as whole, that we encourage and support them to help get their lives back on track."
Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Portfolio Holder for Education, Skills and Culture, said: "It's good news that the number of young people in Bradford District who are not in education, employment or training is continuing to fall. Having a better start in life gives them a better chance of achieving a successful working life in the long-term. It's something that the council works on together with a number of organisations across Bradford including the colleges so this success is very much the result of a combined team effort."
Anyone concerned about a young person who is at risk of leaving, or is already out of, education, employment or training can contact Bradford Connexions.
* Not her real name.
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Notes to Editor
The Prospects Group is a dynamic and enterprising organisation providing a wide range of education, employment and skills services in the UK and internationally. At the heart of what we do is the drive to improve the life chances, skills and aspirations of everyone we support. Each year we support more than 500,000 young people and adults.
Alona de Havilland
0779 080 3882
ONS, Department of Education, NEET Quarterly Brief – January to March 2015
Connexions Bradford, Commentary to accompany the June 2015 MI Spreadsheet