Helping unemployed young people in West Sussex

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A group of councillors which was set up to consider how to help young people into education, employment and training, has made a series of recommendations to West Sussex County Council.

The scrutiny task and finish group focussed on the county council’s role in helping young people aged between 16 and 25 to access or continue in education, employment or training.

The group has produced a series of recommendations that will go to Cabinet Members for their consideration.

The group focused their attention on a number of key areas: coordination, communication and information; leading by example; mentoring; and transport.

Chairman of the task and finish group, Dr James Walsh, said: “This was a fascinating piece of work to be involved in. We need to ensure the county council does its best to help our younger residents to access jobs in the workplace, training and information to help them decide on their future careers and how to progress in that.

“We found that there is already much being done to support young people and a wealth of information out there, but we recognised that more needs to be done to bring this information together into one easily accessible place.

“As part of our work, we spoke to young people to get their views – I’d like to thank them for their involvement and hope they found it as worthwhile as we did.”

The recommendations put forward by the group include:

• Identification of a single County Council officer to coordinate the work for NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training) and to develop and deliver a three-year strategy to address the key issues.

• Exploration of the potential to improve and expand transport support to young people for education, employment and training.

• Development and support for mentoring for young people, personal and work based, and as part of this encourage Members to become mentors in the community and officers to take part in the existing internal mentoring scheme.

• Leading by example by making the most of funding available and encouraging others to do the same, building into contracts a commitment to providing apprenticeships and work experience, and encouraging schools to run work experience programmes.

James added: “The support available for young people not in education, employment or training is a very important issue for West Sussex. As a County Council we need to do all we can to help develop opportunities in the workplace for the younger generation, and I hope our recommendations will be taken forward and provide that additional support to help facilitate this.”