It is estimated that there are around 788,000 young people aged between 16 to 24 years old in the UK who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) 1 and this disproportionally affects young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Research shows, however that young people who have four or more employer encounters with the world of work whilst at school are five times less likely to not be in education, employment or training (NEET), and on average will go on to earn 16% more than their peers who did not have such opportunities 2.
At Future First we understand the vital role former students and local employers can have in supporting the most vulnerable young people and over the last three years we have been generously supported by Rothschild & Co. to deliver an employability skills programme supporting young people most at risk of leaving school and not going into further training, education and employment.
Between 2016 and 2019, 110 students based in five schools across Cornwall, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, South Tyneside and West Sussex attended a series of employability skills workshops and mock interview sessions supported by former students and employees from local businesses such as Balfour Beatty, Master Roast and Fresh Egg. The programme provided students with opportunities to meet former students as well as exposing them to a range of different careers and post-18 pathways. Students were also provided opportunities to develop a range of employability skills such as interview techniques and building professional conduct.
As part of our evaluation we asked students a series of questions about their perceptions of the future and job prospects and tracked their responses from Year 9 to Year 11. The findings show that young people who took part in all three years of the programme were more confident they would be able to get their job of choice in the future, more aware of what they needed to do to get the job they wanted and more motivated to prepare for their futures than they were when they started the programme. Recent Future First/YouGov research published this year show that 65% of 15 year olds are worried about the job they will get in the future and that this anxiety increases as children grow older. It was therefore very encouraging to see that this was the opposite for students participating in the programme.
In Year 9, 43% of students did not know or were unsure how to get the job of their choice, by the end of the programme this had reduced to 8%. In addition, the percentage of students feeling confident that they’d be able to get their job of choice increased from 64% to 85% and the percentage of students reporting that they were motivated to prepare for their futures increased from 60% to 84%.
Jamal Chamberlain Sinclair, former student at Orchard School Bristol said “ The Future First workshops helped me in that I saw people who actually went to my school achieve great things, earn themselves a decent amount of money and have a successful career. The workshops pushed me forward because I knew that I could become successful like the volunteers who had come into the school to talk to us.”
To find out more read the full report here.
2Mann A. (2012) It’s Who You Meet: Why Employer Contacts at School Make a Difference to the Employment Prospects of Young Adults. Available from https://www.educationandemployers.org/research/its-who-you-meet-why-employer-contacts-at-school-make-a-difference-to-the-employment-prospects-of-young-adults/