One of the biggest challenges for a local authority is how we can support people and communities in the right way so that they can improve their life chances and avoid an alternative negative trajectory that can causes huge misery and is very expensive to fix later on. A great deal of the work carried out by our Young Careers and Pathways Team could be describted as ‘early intervention and prevention’, and that includes the small and growing range of pre-16 services we are providing to give young people facing the greatest risks the support they need to get on the right track and to make a successful post 16 transition to education, training and employment.
Delyse and Hayley are doing stirling work transforming Bristol WORKS which now includes the Realising Talent programme, the focus of my update this week. Realising Talent is a West of England Combined Authority pilot that was initially proposed by B&NES Council to provide additional support to 14-16 year olds to improve their options and outcomes once they turn 16. In Bristol, the programme started small with 20 young people in Year 10/11 (aged 14-16) identified through the Merchant Academy. This has involved regular programme time within the school day over two years.
Through the Raising Aspirations programme, our young participants have been receiving a mixture of bespoke 1:1 and group sessions, including support and mentoring; careers advice and guidance; courses to improve health and wellbeing; confidence; life skills and college/job ready skills. Baseline data was collected at the start and is being reviewed regularly with the help of school staff and will inform important findings in the final project report.
Great news! Because this first programme is going so well, we are now preparing to expand the number of participants from 20 to 60 from September. A lot of data crunching is underway to identify the local schools that would benefit most from this resource. From the post 16 data, we can see that a large number of young people age 16/17 are going directly from some schools into employment with no training. We think our Apprenticeship Team have an important role to play in contacting known employers to help them consider apprenticeship options for their young employees! Early intervention and prevention in action!