Career Connect

Early intervention, sustained personalised support, and more local training provision aligned with the needs of young people, are among the recommendations in Career Connect’s new report.

Mapping The Future: Navigating Place-Based Risks of Youth Unemployment’, summarises Career Connect’s submission to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Employment’s latest inquiry into this issue.

Career Connect’s report is released today (6 July).

As a charity that helps young people into employment, education and training, our report shares key insights and data on the impact that a young person’s locality can have on their employment outcomes – and examples of good practice that are making an impact.

Report Findings:

Our report shows that, in the areas Career Connect covers, some wards have up to 10 times the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training compared to their neighbouring wards – showing the need for a highly-localised understanding of the needs of young people and provision that meets these needs.

The report highlights key trends which local and national governments should be prepared to address when it comes to supporting young people into employment, education or training.

This includes a rise in the number of young people who have complex needs, particularly mental ill health and Special Educational Needs (SEND). The longer-term impact of Covid on young people now preparing to leave school is also a factor.

Evidence shows that young people in areas with high levels of youth unemployment are no less likely to be seeking opportunities than young people in other areas. This points to a lack of accessible and appropriate local education, employment and training provision.

The charity urges national government – as a priority – to enhance its efforts to understand and create provision for young people in areas of high youth unemployment.

Our recommendations also include targeted interventions from Year 9 (and earlier) for at risk young people, a whole family approach, sustained relationship-based support, and provision that makes personal and social development part of skill and employment pathways.

We also believe that widening eligibility for training and skills programmes to include young people not in receipt of benefits will make a big impact on localities that have the highest level of youth unemployment or inactivity.

Sheila Clark, Chief Executive of Career Connect said:

“In a challenging landscape and with competing priorities, youth unemployment needs to be considered in terms of the long-term negative impacts that this can lead to for individuals and society as a whole.

“As this report clearly shows, any response to youth unemployment should be highly localised, and supported by national funding. We are calling on the government to ensure that adequate funding flows to local and regional authorities, and that those local authorities have autonomy in how they allocate the monies, allowing them to shape services, respond flexibly to local need and provide targeted support.

“We are supportive of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the decision to bring forward the people and skills element, although we are concerned that funding could be reduced overall. Targeted early intervention should be a priority in this context.”

Career Connect’s recommendations on place-based youth unemployment

National Government should:

  • Ensure adequate funding flows to local and regional authorities, and that authorities have autonomy in how that funding is allocated, to respond flexibly to local need.
  • Factor into funding the increasing complexity of the support needs of school leavers, a large part of which will be clustered in particular localities where individual factors are already disadvantaging young people.
  • Enhance its understanding and increase provision of services for young people that are outside of mainstream education – this should be a priority as numbers climb.
  • Approach provision from a long-term perspective. Provision that addresses personal and social development as part of skill and employment pathways should be scaled up. This should include financial support to employers – particularly SMEs – to provide apprenticeships and employment with training.
  • Offer national level support through replacements for Traineeships and Kickstart programmes, which are attractive to young people.
  • Expand training and skills programmes that should be expanded to include young people not in receipt of benefits – this will make a big impact on localities that have the highest level of youth unemployment or inactivity.
  • Offer more opportunities for Local Authorities to learn from each other about affective practices in place-based programmes. Governments should continue to support What Works Foundations.

Recommendations for local government:

  • Look to invest more in targeted, proactive careers interventions from KS4 for those at risk of not being in education, employment or training, in concert with careers provision provided by schools. This should be supported by geographical targeting to reduce place-based risk.
  • Ensure that allocation of funds accounts for the increasing complexity of the support needs of school leavers and the long-term impacts of Covid on young people’s engagement with education, training and employment.
  • Look to invest in programmes over a longer time period for more sustainable outcomes.
  • Seek to work in partnership with providers to broaden the scope and lower barriers to provision locally. Relevant and accessible provision is vital in wards with the highest levels of youth unemployment.
  • Engage families and young people in the design of services, with greater family focused support increasing impact.
  • Seek to expand the funding available for young people and families through the national Supporting Families Programme (2022-2025, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities).
  • Undertake more sharing of best practice of place-based solutions.

Examples of best practice in tackling place-based youth unemployment:

In our report, we share best practice at local levels, which we believes can be successfully replicated in communities across the UK. Examples of impactful good practice led by Career Connect include:

  • Connect To Your Future, commissioned by GMCA to provide intensive support to 15-18 year olds across Greater Manchester
  • An ESF programme in St. Helens which targeted young people of school leaving age 16 who were no longer eligible for school support and too young for national careers service support.

Both of these programmes used a relationship model, based on identifying a young person’s barriers and helping them overcome them before contemplating next steps. This included investment in building relationships with the young person and researching options, which allowed for more sustainable outcomes. Both projects also had discretionary budgets, which could help fund travel, ID, short courses and interview clothes among other things for young people.

Related Career Connect publications:

Report: ‘Non-elective home education understanding the rise of reluctant home educators and potential support models for parents and young people’

How is mental health affecting young people accessing the labour market and quality work? (Submission to All Party Parliamentary Group report on ‘The impact of Mental Ill Health on Young People Accessing the Labour Market and Good Quality Work’)

Read our report on place-based youth unemployment


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