LEP forges ahead with NEET free ambition


Three districts within the Leeds City Region have seen a significant increase in the number of 16-17 year olds who are now in employment, education or training (NEET) as a result of the devolved Youth Contract. Through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield were granted £5.6m to deliver this pilot and since its launch in September 2012, 874 NEETs have engaged with the programme with 462 progressing into some form of education, employment or training.

The devolved Youth Contract is being piloted in three areas of the country, Liverpool, Newcastle – Gateshead and the Leeds City Region. The purpose of the programme is to identify 16 – 17 year old NEETs who are off the radar with the aim to get them into employment, education or training. It is being piloted as an alternative to the National Youth Contract and offers greater flexibility to meet the specific needs of young people in the local area. So far, the devolved programme has seen excellent results, with 67% of engaged young people making further progressions. The figure for the National Youth Contract is currently 27%.

Using local knowledge, the devolved Youth Contract is focused on community activity and projects in specially targeted areas. These community projects are designed to be engaging for young people and offer a variety of activities to get NEETs active and more involved in the local community. Bradford Council was presented with a Bronze Award at the Improvement and Efficiency (IESE) Awards 2014 for its Young Futures Fund partnership work, which is part of the Council’s devolved Youth Contract. The Young Futures Fund is managed in partnership with 'Young Lives Bradford', which represents a network of voluntary and community sector (VCS) groups and organisations that work with children, young people & families across the Bradford District.

The awards are given to Public Service teams working behind the scenes to maintain valued services in the face of severe financial pressures. Bradford Council won the award in the ‘Community Matters’ category, which focuses on public service support for improvements at community level that can contribute to a reduction in the overall costs of local public services. The ceremony was held in London on Tuesday 4th March and attended by Ralph Berry, Lead Member for Children’s services and Kathryn Loftus, the Council’s Youth Contract Manager from the Education, Employment and Enterprise Team.

One example of the innovative community projects active within the region is BCB Radio. BCB Radio was given a grant of £10,000 to engage with 16-17 year olds in the local community & has seen its success recognised after being awarded the Radio Academy Nations and Regions Yorkshire and Humber radio station of the year. BCB Radio is a radio station that aims to bridge gaps between cultures, generations and neighbourhoods within the local area. The radio station offers young people a platform to learn new skills such as broadcasting, recording and presenting.

The chair of judges said: “Capturing the heartache and joy of life in its area, BCB punches well above its weight with passionate programming that handles its subject matter with respect and integrity. It clearly loves broadcasting to Bradford and delivers a product that the city can be proud of.”

The following film shows some of fantastic work that happening as a result of the devolved Youth Contract and captures the stories of projects and young people’s journeys whilst engaged in the programme. It shows the diverse and innovative activities young people are involved in and how the projects have supported them in steps towards education, employment and training.