Reducing the Skills Gap is a young person led training programme that improves the development of employability skills in young people and was co-created by employers, young people and youth workers.
The programme was designed to meet the needs of both employers and young people following research into youth unemployment, which was carried out in 2012 by the North East Youth Network (NEYN) – a forum run by Youth Focus: North East.
Reducing the Skills Gap supports young people to develop their knowledge and understanding of how to apply eight key skills in the workplace which employers cited as lacking in some young people today. These eight skills include: communication, commitment, confidence, professionalism, motivation and enthusiasm, time management and teamwork. The programme also includes a placement within a workplace setting and pre and post training interviews with specialists.
The participants’ progress is tracked via a self assessment skills questionnaire and a reflective diary. Furthermore, Youth Focus: North East has developed a partnership with City & Guilds who have created and endorsed a number of Mozilla badges for each module of the programme. The badges enable young people to create a digital platform which shows recognition for their achievements and allows them to provide evidence of their skills and developments to employers.
The programme was piloted in early 2013 and is delivered by a group of young people who are trained to be young trainers of the programme. Key outcomes from the pilot included a 100% retention rate and, encouragingly, 58% of participants went on to secure full-time or part-time employment after completing the course. Overall, feedback from the participants and the placement hosts was extremely positive, and what sets Reducing the Skills Gap apart from other existing employability programmes is the fact it has been developed and delivered by young people, some of whom have had first-hand experience of the issue.
Reducing the Skills Gap is extremely flexible and can be adapted to meet the needs of young people from diverse backgrounds, we have developed bespoke, abridged versions of the course on behalf of music development agency Generator and also Gateshead Young Carers. Reducing the Skills Gap was also adapted for pupils from Joseph Swan Academy who were looking to leave school and enter work or apprenticeships.
Reducing the Skills Gap is currently being delivered through partnerships to meet the diverse needs of young people across the region. The programme is currently delivered with Generator Ladders programme, Newcastle Business School, Durham University, Virgin Money, St Aidan’s College and Safe in Tees Valley.
For more information about Reducing the Skills Gap, please contact Neil Burke on 0191 477 9966 or at [email protected].