From education to employment

Employment programme proven by government to be as effective as economic recovery for NEETs

3 people looking at a piece of paper

A groundbreaking national programme has impressive, sustained results in turning around the life chances of NEET young people – those not in education, employment or training.  

The percentage of NEET young people – neither learning nor earning – has been stubborn for over two decades1. But now, fresh government data from an exciting new pilot shines a light on an effective intervention that can free young people from the psychological and economic scarring of being NEET.   

Rigorous benchmarking from the government’s Employment Data Lab shows definitively that charity Resurgo’s Spear programme is effective at helping NEET young people join the labour market, reducing the chances of being NEET after a year by 20%.

If all NEET young people received support this effective, we’d fill over 10% of the vacancies troubling British businesses and help 130,000 young people take a vital next step in their lives. In fact, this is faster than the rate at which the numbers of NEET young people fell during the UK’s last economic recovery post-2007, making the programme more effective at helping these young people than economic recovery.    

With the UK’s workforce struggling for staff post-pandemic, the negative impact on the UK’s sluggish productivity and on businesses who need staff is clear. Yet the 711,0002 young people in this country who are NEET are not accessing these opportunities. The new evidence in today’s report of the effectiveness of the ground-breaking Spear programme, which gets NEET young people into work is very important news.  

The Data Lab evaluated two years’ worth of data tracking young people who’ve been through the Spear Programme, which focuses not only on the hard skills needed to find work, such as CVs and interview training, but also on soft skills such as mindset change, making small talk and the hidden rules of the workplace.

The evaluation tracked their outcomes for two years, looking at their employment status, how long they stayed in work vs being NEET, and how much they were earning. 

Young people aged 16-24 are recruited onto the programme through job centres, referrals from other agencies and online advertising. An initial six-week phase includes group and one-to-one sessions run by highly trained coaches, followed by a year’s support to help young people not only into work, but also to progress in their careers.  

The Spear programme is aimed at supporting those who are facing barriers to employment, including poor educational attainment, a criminal record or having spent time in the care system. Since its inception, 75% of those who complete the initial six-week training programme are in work or education a year later.  

Resurgo Co-Founder and CEO, Jo Rice, said,

“At Resurgo we have always sought to be ahead of the curve on impact management. The Employment Data Lab’s report now independently verifies that the Spear programme is highly effective and that its impact has a measurable, statistically significant impact on young people.

We are delighted that the results are conclusive in demonstrating, without doubt, that we are positively impacting the employment outcomes, and therefore whole life chances, of the young people we serve in tangible ways. We look forward to expanding the Spear programme nationally, knowing that it will help young people turn their lives around.” 

“That Resurgo was chosen for the pilot run of this innovative new service is a resounding endorsement of their commitment to gathering high quality data on their programmes.

We at Impetus are delighted to see Resurgo’s invaluable insight added to the evidence base for effective interventions that support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into sustained employment.” Steven Haines, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Impetus 

CASE STUDY: Nicole’s Story 

“Home life was quite a struggle because my dad was an alcoholic, and I never really had friends in school. I never really had a place. I ended up developing severe depression; I felt so hopeless and worthless – I thought I’d never amount to anything.  A year into my A Levels I was sitting there thinking, ‘what is the point’. I attempted suicide in Year 12. 

I sat in hospital for a few months and I dropped out of school while I was there. I had a phone call from Islington Council, who told me about the Spear Programme. 

The coaches were really friendly and active, with lots of hands-on one-to-one experience. I gained a lot of self-esteem… and it opened me up to a whole new world of employment. During the interview week, I was successful in getting a job in telecoms.  

After Spear I am actually a completely different person. I feel like what I say matters, and it’s not just an empty voice in a corridor. Spear is life-changing; it reminds you that you do have a place in the world and society – you’re not just on your own.” 

Nicole is now working as an Apprentice Fibre Specialist with G.Network. 

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