More than 5,000 young people from the local area have benefited from an award-winning scheme designed to reduce the number of youngsters becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET).
The £1.1m Careers Local project, delivered by Nottinghamshire County Council on behalf of D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and the Education & Skills Funding Agency, has been rolled out in 117 schools, colleges and other educational establishments in Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, Derbyshire and Derby.
A variety of schemes have been funded through the European Social Fund grants, including forging closer ties between local businesses and schools, encouraging enterprise and entrepreneurial behaviour amongst young people and increasing the information available on key sectors and career pathways.
The project recently scooped a national award from the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT). The Places that Work for People award recognises improvements that make a difference to local residents’ quality of life.
Toot Hill in Bingham is one of the schools to have benefited from the project. There, the funding has been used to provide a range of support to young people on their options, including:
- One-to-one employability mentoring
- Employer talks and CV feedback
- Coaching and aspiration raising
- Workshops to explore post-18 options
- Interview preparation
Toot Hill student, Hannah Benson (17) from Radcliffe-on-Trent, who has recently completed her A Levels, said: “I was worrying about it (what to do after finishing her exams), but it was a relief to know there was more options available than going to university.
“I have been looking at teaching, so I may look at getting work experience in a school. I’ve been fortunate to have work placement at some quite big companies in the last couple of years which has involved doing applications, but don’t think I’d have got them without the support I’ve had.”
Harry Pritchard (18) from Epperstone has also received support from the Careers Local-funded project at Toot Hill.
He said: “I knew I didn’t want to go to university and have always been much more about learning on the job, so was set on an apprenticeship.
“The one-to-one sessions I took part in helped me get used to the environment of selling myself and I hope the skills I’ve learned will help me fulfil my next aim of getting a mechanical engineering apprenticeship.”
Councillor Kay Cutts, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “If we are going to fulfil our ambitions of economic growth and bringing more world-class businesses and jobs to Nottinghamshire, we need to have a world-class workforce, ready to take up the opportunities that will bring. Careers Local projects are helping us to deliver exactly that.
“When I go around businesses, one of the main concerns is always about the perceived lack of availability of good, young people to join their workforce.
“It’s clear that Careers Local schemes are helping to address this problem, forging much closer links between businesses and schools and making young people much more aware about the options available to them.”
The current round of applications for Careers Local grants is open until 22nd October 2018.
Grants of up to £10,000 are available for projects to support 15 to 19 year olds at risk of becoming NEET and to increase their employability skills and chances of participating in further education.
Further information about the grants, how to apply and the criteria is available from www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/careerslocal.