A partnership between Jobcentre Plus and local schools has resulted in around 12,000 sessions for pupils, parents and teachers, helping to prepare pupils for the world of work.
The Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools programme targets young people ages 12-18 who are at particular risk of being out of education, employment or training (NEET) or who face disadvantages when looking for work. It began in November 2016 as a pilot across 10 districts, and has since rolled out nationally across England with over 1,400 schools participating following positive feedback from teachers and pupils.
Despite more than 90% of 15-19 year olds now being in employment, education or training, there is still work to be done to ensure that all young people get access to the right skills to succeed in the labour market.
The Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma, said: “The Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools programme is a strong example of how local jobcentres and schools are coming together to help young people realise their true potential.
“I’ve been encouraged by my discussions with students about how much of a positive difference this has made to their confidence and career prospects. We are committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to get into work and, quite importantly, a role they enjoy.”
Jobcentre staff were seen as a credible addition to teachers when providing employment advice and tips on writing CVs, conducting mock interviews and feedback sessions as well as holding industry taster days. They were also able to offer advice on apprenticeships, traineeships and the job market in the local area.
Jobcentre Support for Schools Advisor Rose Marie, who helped to run the programme, said: “The programme is a great opportunity to raise the aspirations of the young people by exploring opportunities available and examining career options that they might not have otherwise looked into.
“I was able to help them to focus their attention and efforts on building and achieving their goals, where possible exceeding them, and because we worked directly with the school, the programme complimented what was already being provided, adding real value.”
The programme was especially effective for Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), which are schools that cater for those students at increased risk of becoming NEET.
One of the headteachers involved with the programme said: “I was really surprised at how they were able to engage with our [PRU] students… the students genuinely seemed to engage, which we’ve not had with other providers.”
Thanks to the work of Jobcentre Plus advisors up and down the country, and the willingness to work from the pupils involved, many of them now have the necessary skills to thrive in the workplace and to take the first steps in their careers.