Career Connect

Targeted one-to-one careers support for young people from Year 9 is yielding positive results at age 16.

Career Connect has published the results of a targeted early intervention programme in Sefton which has led to an increase in positive education, employment and training destinations for young people when they reach the age of 16.

Career Connect’s report offers an in-depth evaluation of the Sefton NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) Reduction and Early Intervention Service, which targets young people from Year 9 onwards who are identified as being ‘at risk of NEET’ due to a range of factors.

Career Connect has delivered the service, commissioned by Sefton Council via their Employment and Learning team, since 2019, when the Council moved from a solely post-16 model of careers support for NEET young people, to proactive intervention.

Intensive one-to-one support

The early intervention model supplements the careers advice and support provided in schools with intensive one-to-one support from an independent adviser for those identified as in need.

Building a strong relationship with the young person and their family/carers, Career Connect advisers assist in identifying and helping remove barriers, supporting the young person to stay engaged with learning, raise their aspirations, explore their strengths and plan for the future.

The early intervention service is integral to the Council’s post-16 service, helping to provide continuity for those targeted young people as they make the positive transition to post-16 education, employment or training destinations.

Significantly improved outcomes

In the four years since targeted early interventions began, the programme has seen significantly improved outcomes for young people across Sefton making the transition from Year 11, despite the disruptions caused by Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.

Of those pre-16 young people identified as being ‘At Risk of NEET’, and supported by Career Connect as part of the early intervention model, the study shows:

  • reductions of between 1 and 16.8 in the percentage of at-risk young people that are NEET upon leaving school.
  • a reduction of between 53-78 days in the average number of days those young people spent NEET.

The early intervention model has also led to a substantial positive impact on the number of young people whose status is ‘Not Known’ at the beginning of Year 12.

In October 2022, only 0.1% of young people in Sefton had a ‘Not Known’ status. This compares with an average of 1.2% across the Northwest and 2.8% across England.

Reducing the number of ‘Not Known’ outcomes among young people

Reducing the number of young people whose status is ‘Not Known’ post-16 is critical in enabling services to identify and target those most in need of support to access education, employment or training.

Nationally, Sefton performs better than the average of all authorities in England for its combined NEET and ’Not Known’ figure, and consistently ranks in the top two compared with its statistical neighbours.

Using the learnings from Sefton, Career Connect’s report shares best practice and makes a number of recommendations for local and national government to consider when it comes to targeted early intervention support.

Read the full report HERE

The positive outcomes in Sefton come as the number of 16 and 17-year-olds across the country who are classed as Not In Education, Employment or Training is rising rapidly.

More young people across the country are also presenting with complex needs that can become barriers to post-16 education, employment, and training.

Life-changing impacts

Sarah Vaughan, Senior Operations Manager at Career Connect, and lead for the Sefton NEET Reduction and Early Intervention Service said: “As we see more young people facing complex situations, and demand rising, an early NEET intervention model is, in my view, less a service that is ‘good to have’ – but it is increasingly becoming a necessity. The positive outcomes in Sefton show the life-changing impact it can have. It is vital to invest now, not just for the future of this generation, but for all our futures.”

Gary Mundy, Director of Research at Career Connect said: “While numerous policy reviews have pointed to the need for and benefits of providing early intervention to young people to prevent them becoming NEET at 16, there is very little concrete evidence about the difference that it makes, or what it means in practice.

“At a time when there is a growing number of young people who are vulnerable to not being in education, training, or employment with accredited training at age 16-17, we hope that this report helps illustrate the importance of providing young people who are most at risk, with professional careers support from the age of 14 onwards. It is a crucial investment that can give vulnerable young people the best possible chance to succeed.”

Read the full report here


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