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Government promise to cut youth unemployment by 15 percent must include most disengaged

ThinkForward welcomes the government’s commitment to cut youth unemployment by 15 percent in the next 10 years. As part of this strategy particular attention must be paid to supporting young people who are most disengaged.

We also welcome the news that employment minister, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, will sign a pledge at the G20 meeting in Turkey as part of international efforts to cut youth unemployment globally.

As a youth charity focused on supporting young people at high risk of becoming NEET, we have developed a model based on early intervention, where super coaches provide five years of intensive support to increase a young person’s chances of making a successful transition from education into employment.

At age 18 young people leave ThinkForward’s programme equipped with competencies identified by employers as being essential for workplace success. This is achieved through our work readiness programme – a key component of our support package, delivered in stages through our Coaches based in schools and the community. Through this approach our young people enter the workplace with the capabilities that most employers need.

Due to our focus on those at highest risk of becoming NEET, we believe that it is vital to engage those that are ‘most disengaged’. ThinkForward builds links with employers and community organisations, through its dedicated business engagement arm – WorkForward. Young people on the programme are exposed to opportunities in the form of jobs, apprenticeships and out of school activities. This goes a long way in helping them develop the skills and experiences they need to secure employment in the long term or go on to higher education.

While we recognise that careers advice for non-graduates in this country is lacking, even if this gap is filled, we do not believe that careers advice on its own is sufficient to help these young people succeed. ThinkForward’s approach of providing five years of intensive coaching to young people from age 13, offers a long term and sustainable solution, since as well as improving educational attainment which is the foundation for success, our coaches support the young person across all aspects of their lives, broaden their horizons and look out for their emotional well-being.

It is all these ingredients combined which allow them to unlock their potential and become economically active and well-rounded citizens of society.