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This exemplar demonstrates and evidences the positive way in which South Lanarkshire developed and expanded their employability offer to young people.
By creating and centralising a new Youth Employability Hub, they were able to offer an extensive bespoke Activity Agreement programme to all of their young people to suit their individual needs. Young people who were most at risk of entering a negative destination were identified at least 6 months prior to their leaving date and were tracked and monitored via school meetings and post school case management meetings.
A partnership approach and an effective joint working with schools and Skills Development Scotland allows them to ensure they knew who their young people were. Those who come onto Activity Agreements were assessed in line with GIRFEC and then offered individualised support packages to suit their needs. This ranges from 1-1 support to vocational tasters and work based learning opportunities.
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What was done?
ASPIRE is a bespoke employability programme for young people who are at risk of entering a negative destination upon leaving school and post school up to the age of 19. Young people are supported to achieve and sustain a positive destination in line with Getting It Right for Every Child and Raising Achievement for All. It also forms part of the National Activity Agreement Offer that is regarded as a positive post school destination.
Referrals for ASPIRE come in two ways:
- Through the SEEMiS 16+ Matrix that is used in school. We are able to identify young people who are 6 months from their official leaving date and who need additional support to achieve and sustain a smooth transition to a positive destination (either S4 summer leavers or S5 winter leavers). In addition to this any young person in S5/6 who are assessed as needing additional support to achieve and sustain a positive destination can also be referred.
- Through the School Leavers Destination (SLDR) follow up we identify young people who have not achieved a positive destination and in partnership with SDS through Locality Case Management Meetings we are able to identify and offer targeted support to young people who have left school. We also get referrals from other agencies such as Social Work, Youth Justice and Youth Mental Health services who feel an employability plan would support the work they are already engaging in with the young people (support is available until the young person’s 19th birthday).
The ASPIRE programme follows the GIRFEC model with of Request for Assistance, completion of a young person’s individual learning plan that includes a wellbeing assessment and the use of Outcome Star, these all allow action plans and goals to be set in terms of softer outcomes. They show clearly the journey a young person has had on the programme. Whilst this supports the individualised needs of the young person it also allows the overall service to be looked at in terms of trends and patterns.
An ASPIRE Vocational Development Worker will support the young person and provide a bespoke programme which may include, work experience, vocational tasters, employability skills, volunteering, health and wellbeing interventions. This will be flexible and will fit around any subjects and/or SQA awards the young person is working towards if the young person is still at school. Young people who are completely disengaged will be supported to re-engage with school where possible and/or participate in activities out with the school setting.
Why was it done?
The establishment of the Youth Employability Service within education has enabled the streamlined approach to all young people aged 16-19 across all of South Lanarkshire and provides a seamless pathway to assist them to reach and sustain positive destinations post school. This centralised service enables communication and offers staff from a range of services a ‘One Stop Shop’; where advice and service provision is available via one central contact point with staff who can advise and avoid confusion with the wide range of ever changing resources available to our young people. In this way young people are offered the most appropriate support at the most appropriate time.
Activity Agreements (ASPIRE) is one of the first employability programmes to benefit from the streamlining of services, this ensure best value across staffing, resources and budgets, this will in turn allow us to be able to work and support many more young people than in the past.
Within South Lanarkshire we are continually trying to ensure all young people who leave school enter and sustain a positive destination. We believe that by centralising Youth Employability Services and expanding our Activity Agreement offer we have been able to increase our positive destination rate year on year.
What was the impact?
ASPIRE adopts a partnership approach and includes all those young people who benefit from Activity Agreements, those who have barriers to employability such as living in poverty, involvement with Youth Justice, living in areas of depravation and those who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The ASPIRE programme provides a valuable contribution to the sector leading results within South Lanarkshire's school leaver's destinations – ranked in the top 5 nationally despite being one of the largest local authorities.
Key to the success of the ASPIRE programme is the in-depth contact with the young person and the engagement of the parents and carers to develop and monitor the support package.
Young people face many different barriers when moving into and sustaining a positive post school destination. By having rigorous assessments, barriers can be identified and a more holistic of support to be offered.
Improvements in tracking and identifying need has seen an increase in the number of referrals and a higher level of need as we are reaching our most disengaged and vulnerable group of young people. We are working with key partner agencies to get support to address these needs for example mental health services etc. Our Care Experienced Employability Focus Group ensures all young people age 15 and above in South Lanarkshire are linked to an ASPIRE worker if need be for employability support.
In 2017/18 ASPIRE engaged with around 580 young people. During this time 335 completed their support programme. Of those who completed 84% moved to a positive destination which was higher than the national average of 79%. Work continues with the remaining young people and their destinations will be recorded in the end of year report next year.
For all young people completing ASPIRE we have closed the gap with positive destinations within the bottom 30% lowest data zones, 86% of these young people progressed to a positive destination compared to an 84% positive destination rate for those residing out with the bottom 30%.
In addition, the work of ASPIRE has contributed to the strong progress in closing the gap for all school leavers. The South Lanarkshire latest figure of positive destinations achieved by young people in the 20% most deprived areas was 92.3% compared to 97.1% for the highest 20% data zones – a gap of 4.8%. This is the best we have achieved since data has become available and the gap within South Lanarkshire is smaller than National Average which is 7%.