From education to employment

Right start schools programme resumes and receives extension following COVID hiatus

pupil studying in classroom environment

A programme supporting 15–16-year-olds to increase their employability skills has resumed following a lengthy hiatus due to the pandemic.

The Right Start Schools programme, run by skills and employability service Calico Enterprise, works primarily with pupil referral units to support students at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) upon leaving school. Having already supported over 140 pupils across Lancashire prior to the pandemic, funding for the programme has also been extended to ensure this vital support can continue. Calico Enterprise is looking to build on early success which saw over 80 pupils remain in school or deemed less likely to become NEET following the programme

Remaining in education or transitioning from school to the adult working environment can be a difficult period in many young people’s lives. The Right Start programme places importance on young people gaining a sense of purpose and meaning around how they fit into the adult world and better understanding the expectations and personal responsibility that comes with this transition. Through this support, the programme aims to equip pupils with the skills, experience and confidence they need to progress into further education, training or employment.

Delivered in partnership with Preston College, the 9-week programme includes group workshops, one-to-one sessions and work placements to improve things such as self-awareness, managing behaviour, communicating effectively and learning how to build positive relationships. While on the programme, learners also have a chance to get to know each other, build relationships with staff and develop interpersonal skills that will enhance their prospects.

Each Pupil is also matched to a work placement based on their suitability, individual interests, and ambitions for the future. An employment coach supports them throughout the placement to ensure both pupil and employer achieve the best outcomes. Following the work placement, Calico Enterprise secures a reference for each pupil to bolster their CV and stand them in good stead for future applications.

‘It’s great to be getting back into schools to deliver this important programme. We’ve all witnessed the disruption our young people have faced over the last few years, so this support has become even more critical. The news that funding has been extended is a real boost to all the staff and partners involved in making the Right Start Schools programme a success. We’re already starting to see positive outcomes again which, after such a lengthy delay, is great to see.’ – Lindsey Danson, Calico Enterprise

Dylan Fee, Careers Lead at The Oswaldtwistle School said, ‘we’re extremely pleased that the excellent work we started with Calico Enterprise can now resume. We found the Right Start Schools programme that they delivered to be extremely effective with all pupils taking part avoiding NEET status after leaving school’.Right Start Schools forms part of the Moving On programme delivered by The Lancashire Colleges (TLC) through a network of delivery partners including colleges, training providers and specialist organisations. Moving On and its associated programmes are all backed by the European Social Fund.

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