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Agenda Item No 9

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning]: 17th July 2014

 

Report of the Director of Learning and Skills

 

Youth Engagement and Progression (NEET)

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To make members aware of the progress being made by the Council to implement the Welsh Government Youth Engagement and Progression Framework and the current levels of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people.

Recommendations

1.         Members consider the progress made to date by the Council on implementation of the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework (YEPF).

2.         That the Committee receives a further progress update report in six months.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         Welsh Government (WG), through the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework Strategy, placed the strategic responsibility for the implementation of the framework on Local Authorities by September 2014. The delivery of the framework will require WG, Local Authorities, Careers Wales and other partners to work together to increase and sustain youth engagement and employment in Wales.

2.         To apprise Committee on progress.

Background

2.         WG introduced the YEPF on 1st October 2013.  In doing so they set specific milestones for Local Authorities to achieve:

·           Establish an Engagement and Progression Co-ordinator role.

·           Map all existing provision available to young people, schools and youth support services.

·           Deliver a YEPF Implementation Plan to WG.

·           Develop an Early Identification Tool based on established vulnerability indicators.

3.         The YEPF has at its core two offers to the most at risk young people, the first being the allocation of a Lead Worker to ensure that support is delivered in a joined up and co-ordinated way and that the support works to meet their needs.  The second is the proactive youth guarantee that will help ensure that every young person has access to a suitable placement in education, employment or training post 16.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         The Lead Officer for Youth and Community Learning has taken responsibility for the role of Engagement and Progression Co-ordinator.  This post is assisted by an Engagement and Progression Officer who is responsible for using the Early Identification Model to broker provision between schools and providers and ensure interventions are appropriate to young people who are at risk of becoming NEET.

5.         An Early Identification (EI) tool has been developed using Welsh Government Guidance and the expertise of the Learning and Skills data team. The tool has also been compared to that of neighbouring local authorities, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Swansea. Data on students is supplied by all secondary schools to the data team. This data is then incorporated into a range of indicators or categories of vulnerability for the student to become NEET.  These are:

·           Attendance.

·           Attainment at key stage 2 and 3.

·           Educated other than at school.

·           Special educational needs.

·           Looked after children.

·           Free school meals.

·           Unauthorised absence.

·           Exclusions and Welsh government reading and numeracy scores.

Each category is given a positive and negative weighting. These are illustrated at Appendix 1. The available data is then contextualised into individual schools and students in each year group. The data indicates that in each year group there are a number of students who will have a high negative rating i.e. a high probability of becoming NEET. From this initial starting point we are able to work with school colleagues and use the school's local intelligence to build a more accurate NEET risk profile. We can then broker the appropriate provision based on the needs of the learner and their engagement into learning.

6.         The Lead Worker is not a new role or position. The Lead Worker will have a specific function and these are often covered by existing roles. These may be learning coaches, teachers responsible for welfare and pastoral issues, education welfare officers, youth workers or careers advisors.  Once the EI tool has been matched to school tracking systems and/or intelligence, a Lead Worker (LW) can be allocated.  Often a LW will be responsible for several young people. The main functions of a LW are:

·           Being a named individual responsible for keeping in touch with the young person.

·           Having an awareness of the range of support in place around an individual.

·           Flagging to EPC if support is not helping a young person move forward.

·           Help build resilience of young person in ways relevant to their host organisation role.

·           Post-16, in partnership with other agents review the 'status' of the young person against the 5 Tier model and provide feedback to the EPC.

7.         The Lead Officer has arranged awareness raising events for potential Lead Workers, developed a YEPF LW steering group, and has been liaising with WG on the development of a LW toolkit and training which will be available late summer 2014.

8.         The Lead Officer has also been working closely with partners Careers Wales, School Improvement and Inclusion Service, Head Teachers, Social Services, Families First, Communities First and Cardiff and Vale College to embed the YEPF into daily practice.

9.         A provision mapping exercise has been completed and a YEPF aide memoire and guidance for Lead Workers and schools is available. The intention is to enable access to the YEPF aide memoire and guidance from the Learning and Skills web based portal which includes schools, LW and central Learning and Skills teams.

10.      The YEPF Implementation Action Plan (Appendix 2) has been submitted to WG and has been approved. At a recent monitoring visit by WG Department for Education and Skills officials several of the initiatives described in this report were verbally accepted as examples of good practice.

11.      The 2013 national picture for NEET is an improving one. The annual NEET figure for Wales and for each local authority is derived from the Careers Wales destination survey which is compiled in November- December of each calendar year. The survey is a snapshot of year 11 leavers at that particular time. It does not give an indication of the whole story of those who are NEET. It is based only on year 11 and does not include those other learners from years 12 and 13 who would contribute to the whole cohort which are covered by the Welsh Government's 5 tier model. As of November 2013 3.7% of year 11 leavers in Wales were NEET as opposed to 4.2% at the same point in 2012.  The Vale of Glamorgan statistics for the same point in 2012 were 3.9% and the figure for the November 2013 was 3.8%.  Appendix 3 indicates how young people are categorised in the 5 tier model and also what lead worker role is within each tier. Appendix 4 indicates the numbers of young people in each tier. Each month the numbers of young people in each Tier fluctuates as they move into sustained employment, education or training (EET).  The young people who would be our priority for concern are in tiers 1 and 2. Tier 3 is the responsibility of Careers Wales.

12.      The Vale of Glamorgan has engaged in several initiatives over the last 12 months which are noteworthy:

·           WG Youth Support Revenue grant has been used to support youth work in 5 secondary schools.

·           Youth Workers have been engaged in the motivation and engagement of young people by improving attitudes and behaviour.

·           Pre vocation courses for year 10 students have been established with Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) using 14-19 funding in which young people have been participating in taster courses in motor mechanics, construction, hospitality and cabin crew support.

·           Flexible start dates to fast forward courses at CAVC has increased the number of young NEET people entering courses.

·           The Job Centre Plus partnership with Careers Wales, Vibe Experience and the Youth Service has provided mobile NEET clinics to young people in the rural Vale.

·           Young people were invited to surgeries where careers advisors, Job Centre Plus staff and CAVC staff attended to give Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) about opportunities available to them.

·           The Work Programme has contributed to progressing NEET young people into employment.  Since April 2013 the programme has received 32 NEET referrals, of which 29 had been job starts.  Since 2011 the programme has seen 160 NEET young people referred and 60 of these have entered employment.

13.      The Council is also working in partnership with local training providers to establish a Princes Trust Volunteer Programme in September and to offer young people taster vocational courses via a scheme called Spring Board in partnership with Cardiff and Vale College, Adult Community Learning and Careers Wales.

14.      The Council is using the YEPF to ensure its youth support services are targeted at those most at risk of becoming NEET.  Partnership working on many fronts is essential to avoid duplication of effort.

15.      The Council is making use of external grants from WG to fund the majority of its interventions and provision and doing all that it can to attract training providers to the area and to link with prospective employers and apprenticeship schemes.

16.      The Council is reviewing best practice in other local authorities and the EPC is exploring European Structural Fund (ESF) Competiveness area funding.  The Council is working with 4 other local authorities on a regional application.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

17.      Welsh Government one off grant funding of £50,000 has been secured and allocated to appoint a temporary Engagement and Progression Officer until September 2015.  The Youth Service must maximise any available external grant funding and use current resources in order to comply with the requirements of the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

18.      The Engagement and Progression Officer post is currently only funded until September 2015. The post is key to the brokerage of provision and the pivotal role of linking schools, careers Wales and training providers to the Local Authority NEET Strategy.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

19.      The Welsh Government Youth Engagement and Progression Framework accords with the powers given to Welsh Government to direct local authorities in relation to youth services under the Learning and Skills Act 2000.  There are employment law implications attached to the Framework as there are staff specifically allocated to this work, advice in relation to these implications and any other issues will be sought as and when appropriate from the Council's in house legal department.

Crime and Disorder Implications

20.      The range of issues associated with young people who are in the NEET category comprise low educational attainment, homelessness, gang membership, early criminalisation, drug culture and dependency, care needs, teenage pregnancy, prostitution and in many or even most cases, multiple and overlapping disadvantage.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

21.      None.

Corporate/Service Objectives

22.      Council's Improvement Objective 5 and Learning & Skills Service Plan 2014-18 Objective 3.

Policy Framework and Budget

23.      The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

24.      None at present.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

25.      Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

26.      None

 

Contact Officer

Andrew Borsden, Lead Officer Youth and Community Learning - 01446 709148

 

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning & Resources

Nisha Shukla, Youth Engagement & Progression Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills

 

 

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