The City & Guilds Foundation and Gower College Swansea have entered into a new strategic partnership to support learners at risk of dropping out of education, overcome barriers and find positive ways to gain skills and enduring work.
The funding will put up to 200 young people through a Transition & Engagement support programme, designed to raise aspirations and help disadvantaged and disengaged learners to develop and enhance existing skills to prepare them for the world of work.
The programme will focus on individuals who have fallen out of full-time courses and redirect them through support progression into apprenticeships and other employment opportunities. In addition to regular engagement sessions, Gower College Swansea will launch Career Bootcamps; short, bespoke mentoring solutions to help widen the scope of progression opportunities available to the young people on the Transition programme.
The programme will launch with a Summer Programme, which will help young people in the school holidays to build confidence and stay engaged at this critical transition in their education lifecycle, leaving school and moving into further education
There is little doubt that the pandemic has contributed significantly to the increasing number of vulnerable individuals in the Gower College Swansea community, as it has in colleges across the UK. For example, the College’s current first year student cohort has not experienced continuous face to face learning since Year 9 – when they were 14 or 15 years old. As a result, some learners arriving with poor social skills and an inability to interact with peers. There are also increasing numbers of vulnerable learners with anxiety issues, learners lacking the ability to manage their time effectively or organise their work – all exacerbated by Covid.
This partnership between the City & Guilds Foundation and Gower College Swansea hopes to inspire young people and increase their aspirations to remain in education or progress into their career, which in turn would lead to a reduction in the Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) figure on a local level, particularly for those young people aged between 16-19 years old.
Kirstie Donnelly, CEO of City & Guilds said:
“I’m thrilled to launch this new partnership with Gower College Swansea at a time when so many young people are facing severe challenges. In a time of increasing austerity, it has never been more important for people to have the skills they need to be able to take advantage of all of the employment opportunities that are available in the labour market. We hope to see a significant impact on individual learners, but also the ripple effect on local businesses and the local economy.”
Caryn Morgan, NEET Engagement Manager at Gower College Swansea said:
“We are delighted to be working with City & Guilds on this exciting new project to support young people at risk of becoming NEET. Our Summer Programme has been extremely well received by school leavers who have participated in a programme of activities throughout July/August designed to support their transition into post-16 education.
“In collaboration with City & Guilds and through the support of the Welsh Government Skills Transition Fund, the College’s Transition & Engagement Mentors will continue to work with the more vulnerable young people throughout the academic year, helping them to complete their chosen course or support them in exploring other avenues.”