Borough of Poole has achieved a significant reduction in the number of young people aged 16-19 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET ) in the last two years.
In 2013/14 there were 226 young people not engaged in work or learning (5.6%) in Poole and this figure has been reduced to 158 (3.5%) in the last two years. These figures indicate that Poole is performing better than England and the South West both in terms of the percentage of young people they are in contact with and those engaged in employment, education or training.
The Council is also reaching record numbers of individual young people who they had not previously been in contact with (termed 'not knowns' in the figures returned to Central Government) to offer them support in finding Education, Employment or Training or with any other aspects of their lives. In 2013/14 there were 883 (18.6%) young people aged 16-19 that the Local Authority was not in contact with and there are now just 105 (2.2%). There are many reasons why the Council may not be in contact with a young person including when young people move to a different local authority or do not start the course or job they intended to after leaving school.
Staff from the Council make phone calls and utilise a range of social media to contact young people as well as visiting homes to ensure they are aware of the support available to them. Number 18, previously the Quay Advice Centre, on Hill Street in Poole, offers information, advice and guidance to 12-19 year olds in Poole. The hard work and dedication of the staff team there has contributed significantly to the reductions in both NEETS and not knowns. The professionally trained and qualified staff at Number 18 support young people aged 16-19 who are not in work and learning to understand the options available to them and provide advice and support to find the right opportunities and overcome any barriers to progress that they may have.
One young person who regularly uses the centre said: “I’ve been coming to the centre for three years now and I don’t think I would be here without it. Everyone who works here has so much compassion and commitment. When I first started coming here I had a lot of problems and if I hadn’t of had the help I did I would have been a lot worse off now. I hope that one day if I have children this centre will still be open if they need help like I did. To this day I still love the support that I can get if I need it. The centre has also recently launched its new website as part of a wider re-branding exercise within the Children, Young People and Learning service area, and young people can now access information and advice and get in touch with the team at www.upinpoole.co.uk.
Cllr Mike White, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Capital Projects, Borough of Poole, said: “It is vital that all our young people get the best possible start and are given the best chance to progress on completion of their Key Stage 4 exams. The work Number 18 does to help young people find the right opportunities for them is key to ensuring Poole’s young people continue to flourish. These figures are extremely positive and the team must be congratulated on their hard work over the last two years.”