Youth Futures launch £15m pilot to evaluate impact of preventative support in helping 14-16 year olds access better employment, education and training

Sep 29, 2023

Youth Futures has today been awarded £15.35m of Dormant Assets Scheme funding by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to test and deliver a pioneering programme of intensive, personalised help, including coaching, mentoring and wellbeing support, for young people aged 14-16 to improve their education and employment outcomes.

By delivering a package of preventative support, Building Futures will reach teenagers before the transition out of secondary school into ongoing education, employment or training, with the goal of having the most positive influence on their future.

As the What Works Centre for youth employment, Youth Futures exists to understand how young people from marginalised backgrounds can find and retain good quality jobs. Building Futures will be delivered as a multi-site, multi-year pilot and independently assessed to evaluate its impact, so that learning and evidence about what works can be shared and acted upon.

Youth Futures will commence the programme in two locations, characterised by high rates of young people at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET), where teenagers from marginalised backgrounds can be reached and supported both inside and outside school. Our ambition is to use the evidence from the pilot to effect change nationally.

As part of Youth Futures’ commitment to youth participation, members of our Future Voices Group have been consulted on plans so far and will continue to be involved in the progress and evaluation of Building Futures. One of the biggest issues they shared based on their experience is the lack of individually tailored support to help young people understand and engage with their future career options. The programme will be built around personalised, sustained engagement with young people at risk of becoming NEET, helping them to realise their potential through intensive support from trusted adults.

Building Futures will be enabled by today’s DCMS funding, announced as part of an enhancement of the Government’s ‘National Youth Guarantee’. Youth Futures will collaborate with the Department for Education who are working closely with Local Authorities to develop a consistent approach to identifying and supporting young people at risk of becoming NEET.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “I want every young person to have the chance to thrive, whether they are already on the right path to success or need a guiding hand.

“Children need someone to talk to, to help guide them through life and tough decisions and whilst for many young people that will be their parents, teachers or other family members – some need additional help. So we are providing intense mentoring to give these teenagers a trusted adult to talk to, through one-to-one coaching, to help them navigate life when they leave school.

“The funding we are announcing will enable thousands more young people to develop vital skills and build their confidence – helping them be happier and healthier and unlock employment opportunities for them later in life.”

Barry Fletcher, CEO at Youth Futures Foundation, said: “We are delighted that we have been awarded funding to deliver ‘Building Futures’. The programme will support 5,000 young people through early intervention, helping develop a robust evidence base that could transform our understanding of what works to support those preparing for the transition from secondary school towards further education, employment or training, and in turn inform future policy and delivery.”

Ladajah, a member of our Future Voices Group, said: “I’m so pleased to see that our recommendations have been considered, the importance of youth voice should not be underestimated in moving things forward.  I hope that this programme will be life changing to those young people who need it the most.”

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