| News & Events

The Careers & Enterprise Company has awarded £1.7m to 20 organisations to support some of the most vulnerable young people with their career pathways and transition to the working world.

The investment is part of The Careers & Enterprise Fund 2018 which is worth £4.2m. This share of the fund will be targeted at programmes supporting disadvantaged groups including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND); Looked After Children and Care Leavers; and Gypsy, and Roma and Traveller young people.

The funding is targeted at improving employer engagement and support, resulting in greater employer confidence and the creation of more meaningful employer encounters for young people.

Projects funded through this investment include an intensive mentoring programme for Looked After Children in Derbyshire, tailored careers support for young people with SEND and their parents in Sussex, and a partnership that enables young people with autism to engage with local employers and the technical routes available to them in Leeds. A full list of recipients is available in the notes to editors.

The aim is to identify innovative ways to reach these groups and to inspire them to plan for their future as well as consider a wider range of further education, training, apprenticeships, jobs and careers.

An additional £2.5million of investment will be targeted at schools and colleges in 35 disadvantaged geographic areas across the country, details of which will be announced later in the year.

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said:

“We are thrilled that these projects are helping us to move in the right direction and ensure that all young people – no matter their background or needs – are being offered the support they so fundamentally need. The quality of careers guidance is rising across the country, and it’s particularly encouraging that this funding is targeting and having an impact on some of the most disadvantaged groups. As the world of work is changing all the time, it is vital that this investment enables young people to navigate the many routes into work, as well as be guided by the right mentors and role models.”

A selection of the organisations supported, and the programmes developed through this funding are summarised below. 

Derbyshire Virtual School (£153,100)

Derbyshire Virtual School is providing a 60-week Creative Mentoring and Enterprise Programme as educational enrichment for Looked After Children in Years 9 to 13. Young people are targeted based on factors that put them at additional risk of being NEET, including low school attendance, exclusions, under achievement, poor mental health, teenage pregnancy and behavioural difficulties. Thirty young people will have weekly one to one sessions with Creative Mentors and participate in Creative Enterprise activity in small groups in the community. Employers will be involved in the commissioning of seven Creative Enterprise Projects that enable young people to experience the workplace with four showcase events for young people to present their work to an authentic audience.

Jane Parfrement, Director of Children’s Services at Derbyshire County Council, said: “We are committed to being the best we can be for the children we care for; ensuring that our services are at least as good as those we would expect for our own children. This driving principle is behind the work that we will be undertaking with this funding. By focussing on positive relationships and planning activity collaboratively with young people, schools and other supporting adults, we will be better able to nurture young people’s social and emotional development, identify vocational pathways for progression and help them develop the high levels of self-motivation they need to achieve their potential.”

Amaze (£117,263)

Amaze will deliver a rolling career support programme for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) aged 14-25 in Brighton and Hove and East Sussex. Their goal is to help to boost confidence and to increase awareness about employment, further education, training and volunteering which increase the aspirations of the young people. They will work in partnership with employers, colleges, other charities, supported employment teams and statutory agencies to deliver 1:1 information, advice and guidance support and work skills training sessions for young people, and workshops and information fairs for young people and parent carers. The organisation will also develop accessible information resources to increase awareness of post-16 and further education, training, volunteering and employment options.

Sally Polanski, Deputy CEO at Amaze, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received this funding which will make an enormous difference to the lives of young people with SEND in Brighton and Hove and East Sussex. We know that these young people struggle to access existing careers support services so we are excited to be able to offer tailored 1:1 support, workshops and work skills training
that will help more young people with additional needs to engage with volunteering, work experience and employment opportunities.”

Ahead Partnership (£105,912)

This programme based in Leeds seeks to develop a whole-system employability and transition approach that meets all the requirements of the Gatsby Benchmarks and the needs of young people in Years 7-14 with autism. The programme will challenge and broaden the aspirations of teaching staff, parents and the students themselves, increase their awareness of technical routes beyond school and the wider benefits of staying in employment, education and training, as well as the support available. It will also focus on increased interaction with employers promoting joint work among autistic students, teachers, parents and employers to better understand, encourage and enable students to contribute positively within the workplace. The programme will also seek to develop a best practice model that other SEND schools can follow.

Stephanie Burras, Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership, said: “We’re delighted that The Careers & Enterprise Company has chosen to fund this project, which focuses on helping young people with autism make the very most of their career opportunities. We are proud to be working with our project partner, the Lighthouse School in Leeds to develop and test the most effective approach to developing the skills, aspirations and career awareness of their students.” 

Katie Parlett, Chair of Lighthouse Futures Trust, said: “This funding allows us to build on previous experience and successes and develop a powerful new approach that can also be shared more widely with other SEND groups. By joining forces with Ahead Partnership we will develop a system of careers learning within schools and the workplace that focuses on each individual student’s strengths and interests and aligns this to workforce demand. This project will open doors for our students and help show everyone involved what a positive asset they can be at work.”

YC Hertfordshire’s Employment Excellence (£67,760)

YC Hertfordshire’s Employment Excellence (Travellers) Programme is designed around young travellers’ aspirations and the cultural and practical barriers they face. Focused on Years 8-11, the programme provides young people with professional Independent Advice and Guidance, a work experience placement with 1:1 mentoring, and is expected to last between six and 12 months. Work with traveller families is an essential component to overcome any concerns and to enable them to support the young person’s career pathway. Another essential component is close collaboration with specialist services supporting the traveller community; this improves career professionals’ cultural competence and gives access to a hard to engage community.

County Councillor Teresa Heritage, Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families, said: “We are looking forward to this innovative and forward-thinking collaboration between YC Hertfordshire and Access to Education Team. Young travellers are sometimes unable to have the benefits of quality careers guidance and work experience due to sporadic school attendance and as a cohort have been known to experience particularly high drop-out rate beyond Year 8. Young travellers too often respond poorly to certain aspects of classroom style learning, so this programme attempts to replace some of these with an opportunity to develop skills for the workplace, communication skills and awareness of employer expectations. The programme will be intensive and tailored to help some of the hardest to reach young people from the traveller community in Hertfordshire.”