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Agenda Item No. 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning] : 18th May 2015

 

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.         That Members consider the progress made to date by the Council on the 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 (by September 2014) on Local Authorities. The delivery of the framework requires WG, Local Authorities, Careers Wales and other partners to work together to increase and sustain youth engagement and employment in Wales.

2.         To apprise the Scrutiny Committee on progress.

Background

2.         The Youth Engagement and Progression Framework (YEPF) was introduced by Welsh Government on 1st October 2013. The framework has six key elements:-

·         Identifying young people most at risk of disengagement.

·         Better brokerage and coordination of support.

·         Stronger tracking and transitions of young people through the system.

·         Ensuring provision meets the needs of young people.

·         Strengthening employability skills and opportunities for young people.

·         Greater accountability for better outcomes for young people.

3.         The framework also introduces two new offers:-

·         The allocation of a single point of contact (lead worker) to the most at risk young people.

·         The development of a Youth Guarantee to help to ensure that every young person has access to a suitable place in learning post-16.

4.         Specific milestones were set by Welsh Government to ensure implementation of the framework:-

·         Establishment of an Engagement and Progression Co-ordinator role.

·         Mapping of all existing provision available to young people, schools and youth support services to enable the Youth Guarantee to be met by September 2015.

·         Submit a YEPF implementation plan to Welsh Government.

·         Development of an early identification system.

·         Allocation of lead workers.

5.         All of the requirements set out above have been met by the Vale of Glamorgan Council in collaboration with a number of partners.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         Key milestones achieved since the previous update report in July 2014 are detailed below:-

·         The Early Identification tool has been uploaded on to the Vale Learning Portal and implemented in all 8 comprehensive schools.  6 schools had provision brokered as a result of the early identification system and a total of 132 young people are being supported. See Appendix 1 early identification model and data summary for each year group across comprehensive schools.

·         Through dedicated youth workers in schools, 6 level 1 Certificates in Success with Employment, Education and Training (SWEET) were completed in Bryn Hafren school; 5 Level 1 Award SWEETs and 4 Level 1 SWEET certificates were achieved through Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC). 

·         Bryn Hafren has a youth worker in place to work with cohorts of young people in years 9, 10 and 11, offering individual/group support. See Appendix 2 case studies.

·         In St. Richard Gwyn, 2 groups in years 9 and 10 benefited from the Guidance to Engagement project 2 hours per week for 10 weeks, 14 young people out of 16 benefited from this provision and no longer require it, one group will be accessing learning through the sports and play project and one cohort will be integrated back into mainstream classroom settings. This is in addition to the young person’s school learning, as a tool to improve behaviour and engagement. See Appendix 2 case studies. 

·         In Barry Comprehensive 2 youth workers have been in place since early October delivering the Guidance 2 Engagement programme (G2E).  There has been positive feedback in the main whereby 3 young people have returned to mainstream education, 2 were referred to the PRU, a number of accreditations in BTEC level 1 have been achieved by year 10 students, and level 2 BTEC by year 11 students. Young people are also completing BTEC in Sports and Leadership Awards. Two young people have secured work placements since being involved with the G2E programme. There has been an overall improvement in attendance, behaviour and an increase in soft outcomes such as confidence, attitude, and self-esteem. The Youth Construction Trust was introduced to the school to set up a taster day in plastering, plumbing and carpentry where 10 young people at high risk of becoming NEET will be selected to gain hands on experience with a view to enrolling onto a college course in September.  

·         In Llantwit Major, there are effective in-house provision arrangements in place, however, the school has been given the opportunity to access alternative provision through LA Youth Services such as the Guidance to Engagement Programme 'Can Do’ and Pulse projects. ACT training provision is being utilised by the school to provide courses for high risk NEET young people to access mechanical engineering. The Military Prep College is very successful in engaging this cohort of young people.  

·         Stanwell School has low numbers of risk NEET young people, however the Youth Service project Emojis was introduced to the school to provide a service to young people with poor attendance, low self-esteem, and confidence. Young people take part in a range of activities to improve their communication skills, express their feelings, and form better relationships with their peers and families and gain emotional understanding.  Activities include music production, arts, singing, sports, media, engineering etc.   FACT and the 'Can Do’ project (funded by CYPP) were also presented to the school.  FACT involves a team around the family approach and the 'Can Do’ project focuses on young people with low confidence and self-esteem. This work involves emotional intelligence, building resilience and self-awareness. 

·         Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg has a youth worker in place and will be delivering part of the Guidance to Engagement accreditation courses to young people.  BTEC SWEET is already delivered.

7.         The Council and the Engagement and Progression partnership developed a 12 week Princes Trust Programme (PTV) which has been fully operational in the Vale since October 2014. 12 young people aged 16-24 were recruited to take part in a residential volunteering and community activity. The second PTV commenced in Feb 2015, the residential was held in France. Since the completion of the programme, young people have progressed into the following training:-  Andrew Cooksley Training (ACT) training, volunteering placement, 2 went onto level 1 traineeship with Strikers (sport training Cardiff),  1 is now employed by ASDA.

8.         A Careers Wales learning and transition coach has been working with post-16 high risk NEET young people, making contact with 214 young people in the fourth quarter  of 2014, of which 154 young people were supported.

9.         The Local Authority has piloted a Lead Worker and Common Areas Prospectus (CAP) training, the first session was delivered in November 2014 in the Vale to partners working with NEET young people.  Partners included the voluntary sector, further education, youth services, communities first and the third sector. The second training programme was delivered in February 2015 for colleagues in the Pupil Referral Unit, schools, colleges and youth workers. The course entails understanding the role of a lead worker and a mentor, knowing the principles of partnership and multi-agency working, community audit of local provision and understanding the role of Careers Wales CAP.

10.      The Council has also developed a dedicated YEPF website which is live on the Vale of Glamorgan Council's external website which provides access to guidance for lead workers to a directory of provision for NEET young people.  The website can be viewed at: http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/working/education_and_skills/Youth-Engagement-Guidance-and-Directory/Youth-Engagement-Guidance-and-Directory.aspx

11.      The Welsh Government recently appointed an external agency (ICF International) to evaluate the implementation of YEPF in all local authorities in Wales. The first round of interviews was conducted at the end of summer 2014 to gather information on the implementation of the Framework. Subsequently the Vale has been selected as an example of good practice and progress in terms of early identification and brokerage that other Local Authorities can learn from. They revisited the Vale for a second round of interviews in January 2015 with young people who have benefitted from provision brokered, heads of schools and our partner Cardiff and Vale College and lead workers.

12.      As a result of collaboration with partners and closer monitoring by the Local Authority, the Vale's NEET figure for 2014/15 has reduced to 2.76% from 3.8% in 2013/14.  Appendix 3 illustrates the WG 5 tier data and the LA’s performance targets for 2014/15 and actual performance for 2014/15. We made an overall reduction in NEET figures in all year groups and have exceeded our performance target for years 11 and 12 for 2014/15. The survey also reveals that the Vale of Glamorgan NEETs figures are below the Welsh average for year groups 11, 12 and 13. 

13.      CAVC have introduced the VITAL system which allows the tutor and learner to track progress on courses and academic progress; learner relationship management; learning plans; setting personal targets; identifying at risk learners.  The Vital system will be linked to Careers Wales tier 4 list in college. Schools can log in to check learner's progress and view what is being discussed and ensure support can be established to ensure the learner remains in education.

14.      The Youth Engagement Progression and Retention Panel has been established which is a joint partnership between the Local Authority and Cardiff and Vale College.  It has responsibilities to the Youth Engagement and Progression Strategy Group within the Local Authority and also supports the 'At Risk’ Strategy group within the college. The aim of Panel is to provide a multi-agency approach to achieving better outcomes for young people identified as being NEET or at risk of becoming NEET and keeping them in training.

15.      A Lead Worker Network has been established consisting of local training, education and support provision, chaired by the Vale of Glamorgan Local Authority.  It is responsible to the Engagement and Progression Strategy Group within the Local Authority.  The aim of the network is to ensure young people receive appropriate support in tiers 2 and 3. Refer to Appendix 4 for Terms of Reference.

16.      The Engagement and Progression Officer has merged the previous Vale NEETs Strategy, the Youth Service Support Strategy and the Youth Engagement and Progression Implementation Plan into one single integrated draft Youth Engagement and Progression Strategy 2015-2017 which is subject to approval.

17.      The LA produces monthly training and education newsletters for organisations who work with young people who are NEET or at risk of becoming NEET. A seasonal Youth Services partnership newsletter is also being developed  which will be distributed to schools and wider partners when it is launched this summer.

18.      The Caerphilly Passport Programme is to be replicated in the Vale to provide apprenticeship and training opportunities to young people:-

·         The programme will help create apprenticeship opportunities, employment  and work experience

·         Aimed at 16-24 year olds who are NEET or not taking part in the WG Work Programme

·         A passport officer will be seconded to the Vale and will be managed by the Engagement Progression Co-ordinator in the Vale.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

19.      Welsh Government one off Engagement and Progression 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.

20.      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.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

21.      There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

22.      There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

23.      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)

24.      There are no equal opportunity implications arising from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

27.      None at present.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

28.      Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Nisha Shukla, Engagement and Progression Officer

 

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham - Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

Andrew Borsden - Lead Officer, Youth and Community Learning

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills

 

 

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