By Stephen Savage, Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s Employment and Skills Board
Despite falling since the introduction of the raising of the participation age in 2015, levels of youth unemployment remains an issue affecting communities across the country. Considering how to get those aged between 18-24 and not in employment, education or training back on the right track is a task every LEP must challenge.
In the Humber region, the latest employment figures show 5.2% of 18-24 years olds are not in employment, education or training (NEET), which is higher than the national average. However this figure has decreased significantly since 2013 when LEP statistics began – when it stood at 11.7%.
According to statistics, there are an estimated 2,500 NEETs in Hull alone, with a further 500 in the rest of the Humber region.
This high unemployment rate needs a hands-on solution – something Humber LEP aimed to achieve through the Springboard Hull and Humber partnership project.
The Springboard programme, funded by the Youth Employment Initiative and European Social Fund, is administered by lead partner the Humber Learning Consortium (HLC), working in partnership with a range of organisations across the Humber.
They have delivered a range of support to help around 3,100 16-29 year olds across the Humber into training, apprenticeships and work. HLC and its partners have reached affected young people through a visible presence in the community within local shopping centres and supermarkets, and medical centres across the area used to bring their support to more young people.
We all know that there is a link between employment and good health – and that often by helping a young person with their health can get them back into work, but also that the benefits of work or training, can also significantly aid recovery from illness and improve mental health and wellbeing. A person’s health is affected by many different factors, not just our physical wellbeing. Housing, money, relationships and work can all affect how we feel. With this in mind, helping young people back into education and work requires a package of support across a range of areas, which is tailored to each individual’s needs.
Springboard’s approach to offering assistance within the community has enabled young people to access the support they need, at places they already access. This has included help in confidence building, support with mental health, childcare, or with a hidden or physical disability, Maths and English qualifications or even work preparation.
In Hull the scheme has linked with five doctors surgeries so far, with a sixth planned by the end of the month, giving young people across the city a great opportunity to see what Springboard has on offer – as well as a chance to meet young people just like themselves – who have overcome various obstacles to find employment, training, or have started their own businesses.
Ben Fletcher, Contract Manager, for the ESF Springboard Youth Employment Initiative, said: “Springboard Hull and Humber has transformed the lives of more than 2,700 young people across Hull and the Humber area over the last two years. The partnership of local authorities and independent and voluntary sector providers has worked closely together to enable young people to grow and progress. This has helped those with many complex barriers to gain paid employment or access to further learning, through bespoke support and guidance.
“This unique partnership has shown that by learning providers working together it enables the young people to choose what help they want or need, and most importantly at what pace, which has really paid off. We hope with the further ESF investment we can help even more young people in Hull to continue to reduce this NEET figure.”
Of the 3,100 young people who started on the Springboard scheme as at the end of March 2019, 1,446 were long-term unemployed and a further 1,079 were inactive in the labour market.
The project has also helped more than 515 young people with disabilities and 451 lone parents access the programme.
The programme has had some real successes with 1,042 young people progressing into work or further education including 173 into Apprenticeships and 51 into self-employment.
With further funding confirmed until 2022 for the ESF YEI Springboard programme in Hull and further provision now available in the rest of Humber, we look forward to this and other programmes continuing to provide opportunities for young people and which will make a real impact in the Humber region.
If you would like any more information about Springboard YEI please contact the key worker service on T. (01482) 612736 or visit Springboard’s Facebook page here.