Vulnerable young people accessing and sustaining v..
Vulnerable young people accessing and sustaining vocational training and apprenticeships
Start date: Sep 1, 2015,
End date: Aug 31, 2018
The aim of the project is to provide resources for current VET providers and employers who are interested in implementing apprenticeships and other training placements for the most vulnerable young people in our society.
There is much evidence of work to engage very vulnerable people in self-development but there is always a problem stepping over into sustained placements and into work. It is well known that this is a key issue that leads young people back into the spiral of offending. Experience indicates that whilst many businesses offer opportunities to the very vulnerable, it is often difficult for them to sustain the offer. This is because the issues facing the young people affect most, if not all, of their behaviour. Employers often do not know how to deal with what is perceived as poor behaviour and the default is to make them redundant. Employers need proper training to equip them for appropriate action to address issues with vulnerable young people. Where such transitions are made and apprenticeships are successful, we need to be explicit about what works and what does not. There is patchy and often anecdotal evidence but little substantial evidence-based work. The common theme emerging from existing work and experience is the need for social support: just getting someone a placement without an eye on the social support for a range of other issues is thought not to work by many professionals in the field. A web of support is therefore increasingly regarded as essential for helping the most vulnerable young people become constructive members of society. There are indications that there is a need for common but multifaceted approach to supporting vulnerable young people through vocational education, training and apprenticeships.
The key objectives are: 1) to explore the experiences of young people; 2) to identify the needs of employers; 3) to identify the needs of schools and VET trainers; 3) to map good practice; 4) to bring together practitioners; 5) to provide a model of evidence based social support requirements; 6) to share good practice beyond the immediate partnership.
The direct beneficiaries of the project are VET providers, including both trainers/colleges and employers that provide apprenticeships and work placements for young people. In particular, there will be a focus on organisations that wish to give particular attention to vulnerable young people. This includes private companies; public bodies; social enterprises that aim to improve the lives of the vulnerable; NGOs that provide VET for their clients; schools that provide VET; prisons that provide VET to young offenders; local authorities who are often responsible for co-ordinating and providing VET.
The indirect beneficiaries of the project are the most vulnerable young people in society. We are using a broad age range from 16 to 25 in order to capture different definitions of ‘young people’ that are used across Europe. Vulnerabilities relate to a wide range of often inter-related issues such as histories of violence and abuse, problematic drug and alcohol use, serious undiagnosed mental health issues, problematic family relationships, experience of offending and prison. This group includes young people from different ethnic origins, such as Roma; and includes young people who are migrants. Some of the most vulnerable young people are women who at particular risk of domestic violence, sexual abuse and sex work.
Ultimately, the key impact will be on the lives of the most vulnerable young people in our society. Successful apprenticeships enhance the lives, confidence, social and cultural capital of those young people and can help turn broken lives around, with attendant benefits for future generations. For the VET providers, and in particular, employers, this project will raise awareness of the needs of these young people and also signpost them to appropriate support.
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