Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, forecasts suggested the numbers of young people outside of education, training and employment were likely to grow due to overall population rises in this age group and the increasing number of young people facing the greatest risks and challenges, including those with experience of care, and the number of Disabled young people and those with additional support needs. As a result of Covid 19, we now face the prospect of an economic downturn and a growth in young people falling out of the labour market; with over 4000 Bristol young people aged 16-24 already registered unemployed.
On the supply side, in a city like Bristol, there is a danger that post 16 services for young people are highly fragmented, with multiple entry points via formal education, youth services, employability providers and public sector provision – all offering a broad range of interventions that can be hard to uncover, understand and access and with little clarity about their effectiveness for different groups of young people. A collaborative approach across different sectors is vital to ensure that young people get the right advice and support to secure the best possible post 16 education, training and employment opportunities.
So today I’d like to shine a light on the very supportive ‘Into Learning’ network that has been conceived and developed by Delyse Taylor, Bristol’s Young Careers and Pathways Team Manager. The original aim of this network was to provide a collaborative space for practitioners and providers who are working with post 16 young people and to facilitate open sharing of events, opportunities and cases with the sole purpose of finding suitable EET (education, employment training) pathways for young people. Prior to lock down, the network met once a month in different venues across the City. In response to Covid 19, the meetings were quickly moved online to keep all participants up to date with a fast-moving world.
Who attends and what happens at Into Learning meetings? Professionals attend from across the city and WECA area. There is a wealth of knowledge in the group and no question is considered too small, big, or silly. Everyone is committed to increasing their knowledge of post 16 pathways to make sure that young people are suitably supported into sustainable outcomes. There has been a regular attendance to fortnightly virtual meetings; going remote has actual achieved a wider reach and overall attendance has significantly increased. This has had a positive impact on young people through the shared ideas and support given to the professionals supporting them. Since this academic year there have been 31 cases brought to the meeting, with over 50% of them now moving from NEET to EET.
Network meetings follow a pretty standard pattern –
- Update from the BCC Young Careers and Pathways Team including the DfE EET participation data performance for Bristol and general updates;
- Practitioners are invited to share any cases of young people with the group to make suggestions about pathways – we ask practitioners to share anonymised information with the group.
- The Post 16 team are always able to share the information on behalf of professionals who are unable to attend;
- Post 16 providers/ third sector partners/public sector agencies are invited to share any new ventures, events, courses, vacancies;
- There is a master tracking sheet that shows the cases bought to the group and the 1 month and 3 months progress of the young person. This allows us to measure the progress of the young people and offer any additional help that might be required.
There has been some great feedback from the 25 or so participants who regularly attend:
- Attending the group has saved hours of unfruitful internet searching
- I now have suggestions to take back to young people that I didn’t know existed
- Being able to connect with providers has helped me to support my young person as I knew who I was speaking to rather than a stranger
- The knowledge and information from the group has benefitted me as a provider to develop new provision as I know what is needed
- Hearing about the new opportunities first has been a benefit as I booked my young person on to the provision.
Many congratulations to Delyse and her team for their impactful work. If you would like to be included in the Into Learning meeting please contact the Post 16 team to request the virtual link firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Young Careers and Pathways Team, you can also find more information by clinking on this link right here: