An advisory group on NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training) has been appointed by Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry as part of his plans to tackle youth unemployment.
The group is accompanied by a NEET forum, representing youth work organisations. Both were proposed in the NEET strategy, entitled ‘Pathways to Success’, which was launched last June.
“Reducing youth unemployment is a high priority for my department and the Executive,” Farry said. “I want to improve the opportunities for our young people to reach their full potential and to contribute positively to our communities and local economic growth.”
The group’s role is to ensure that activities funded by the department help young people gain the skills and qualifications that they need to get into work. These include the Collaboration and Innovation Fund, the community family support programme for disadvantaged families, the pathways allowance paid to young people in training, and a community-based learner access programme. Most of these are under way and the latter programme will to be introduced later this year, to help young people improve their English and maths skills.
In December, Stephen Farry announced a £9 million support package to fund 18 projects. This funding, through the Collaboration and Innovation Fund, will run through the remainder of this financial year and into 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.
Up to 5,000 disadvantaged young people are expected to benefit.
Farry commented: “These projects will open doors for our young people to move into college, apprenticeships or jobs, and represent the key quality interventions necessary to combat the untapped potential of these young people. Most importantly, the projects will improve their employability by equipping them with the necessary skills for employment.”
This work includes mentoring, work placements and training in literacy, numeracy and ICT skills. Innovative schemes using iPads for informal learning will also be supported.
Supported organisations include Belfast Metropolitan College, the Bryson Charitable Group, Extern, Opportunity Youth, the South Eastern Regional College, the Southern Regional College, the South West College and the Prince’s Trust.
The Minister concluded: “I want to ensure that young people who are currently disengaged are provided at the earliest possible stage with the skills to gain jobs. These projects are designed to ensure that no-one is left behind and that we build opportunities for all our young people, particularly those in areas of deprivation [and] right across our community.”
|DEL||Andrew Hamilton (Chair)|
|Business in the Community||Jill Crawford|
|Department of Education||David Hughes|
|Department of Justice||Tony Kavanagh|
|Bryson Charitable Group||Jo Marley (Chair)|
|Barnardo’s||Mary Anne Webb|
|Digital Media Choices||Joe Conere|
|Include Youth||Paddy Mooney|
|Opportunity Youth||Anne-Marie McClure|