After a successful piloting of the developed model in three European countries results are discussed and conclusions drawn.
‘NEETs at Risk’ Is an Erasmus+ project funded by the European Commission which is aiming to develop an innovative model to help to identify young people at risk of becoming NEET (‘Not in Education, Employment, or Training’) and to help them transition into the labour market or stay in the education system. Tavistock Institute staff worked with partners in Spain, Germany, Italy and Portugal to develop the model based on an in-depth review of existing good practices in these countries, as well as expert advice as part of 1-week long learning event.
The model consists of five successive elements:
- A preparation phase: Identification of schools and training of staff
- A pre-selection/induction phase: Identification of young people at risk of being NEET
- A guidance phase: Preparation of young people with confidence building and employability skills
- An ‘experience-of-EET’ phase: Involvement in direct experiences of the workplace and/or other learning environments
- A post-placement consolidation phase: Review of acquired skills and work experiences
The preventative model was tested in Italy (December 2015 to July 2016), in Portugal (February to June 2016) and in Spain (April to June 2016). A total number of 41 students completed the intervention in the three countries. The intervention consisted of 10-15 sessions, including individual sessions, group sessions and external visits to companies.
Monitoring data revealed that all five elements of the methodology were implemented; however, there were notable differences in the application of the model in the three pilot countries. In Italy, piloting was conducted in two rounds with students from several schools and VET centres; in contrast, Spain and Portugal involved students from one school only. In Italy, the programme was delivered out of school hours in an external employment centre, whereas in Spain and Portugal it was delivered during school hours in the school the students were selected from.
The focus group with facilitation staff highlighted a number of key learning points from the piloting phase:
- Facilitators play a key role in the delivery of the programme; it is therefore very important that facilitation staff have relevant skills to motivate students and have undergone the programme’s training course.
- It is essential that the model is flexible while keeping the overall structure so it can be adapted to the local contexts and the specific interests of the students.
- The inclusion of practical sessions, including visits to companies and ‘hands-on’ activities, are crucial to keep students engaged.
- Work placements provide very important opportunities for students to experience work routines and acquire new skills. Schools need to be supported in arranging work placements for students, as they often do not have the necessary contacts into companies to organise such opportunities.
- The duration of the programme was too short to have a long-term impact on all students. Sessions need to be extended and more practical activities integrated in the model.
Going forward, these key learning points will inform the improvement of the model for the application in other schools.