West of England charity, 1625 Independent People (1625IP), has been awarded grant funding by Youth Futures Foundation and the West of England Combined Authority. The £1.6 million award includes £875,000 from Youth Futures and £720,000 from the Combined Authority. It secures the organisation’s ability to support over 150 young people who are leaving care to prepare for and find paid work, helping to tackle high youth unemployment.
Building on the success of its existing youth employment and education work, 1625IP will extend its innovative Reboot West project until March 2025. It will work in partnership with the leaving care and employment and skills teams across four local authorities in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, offering coaching, training and bespoke careers support underpinned by an innovative psychological approach.
Youth Futures was established to find, fund, support and evaluate programmes that help young people from marginalised backgrounds move into meaningful work. However, the economic impact of the pandemic has hit young people’s prospects hard. The latest Universal Credit statistics show that 450,000 16 to 24-year-olds are currently listed as ‘searching for work’ – nearly double the figure in March 2020. Meanwhile, long-term youth unemployment (defined as being unemployed for more than six months) has reached its highest level in five years.
The disrupted job market makes it harder still for young people facing disadvantages. While local authorities are responsible for co-ordinating support for young people leaving care, the West of England Combined Authority is responsible for boosting the region’s employment and skills system. This project’s partnership approach means young care leavers will benefit from the Combined Authority’s relationships with employers to find supportive work placements.
Dan Norris, West of England Mayor said: “As a ‘jobs first’ Metro Mayor, I’m determined to ensure that everyone in our region is given the opportunities and support they need to begin and secure a good career, whatever their situation is. I’m proud to lead the West of England Combined Authority which is helping to provide worthwhile projects like Reboot West and get more people into work.”
Jordyn, a young person on the Reboot West project, said: “My Reboot Coach nurtured me and helped me to regain my confidence and independence, as well as helping me to build up my self-worth and self-respect to prepare me for my future career. I have been so lucky to experience care in such a beautiful and fulfilling way, not only with the support of Reboot but also with support from past carers and with the support of my family.”
Anna Smee, CEO, Youth Futures said: “Young care leavers are more likely to become disengaged from the labour market because of lack of support at transition points in their life. They may have additional emotional and wellbeing needs that need to be met to build confidence, skills and move into paid employment. That’s why we’re supporting 1625IP’s holistic approach. We’re committed to investing in potential to identify ‘what works’ to initiate new ways of working that could be scaled up nationally. This exciting partnership with West of England Combined Authority and its partner councils will provide vital opportunities for care leavers and deliver our vision.”
Dom Wood, CEO, 1625 Independent People said: “We are delighted to have received such significant support from the West of England Combined Authority and the Youth Futures Foundation. Young people leaving care are hugely talented and we are determined that they can access jobs, education and training so they can succeed in life. This is a partnership with 1625ip coaches working alongside local authority leaving care teams, employers and training providers, with the success of our approach being a credit to everyone involved, and most importantly to the young people who have shown such strength and perseverance through these hard times. This funding provides a huge opportunity to support more care leavers into employment and we will be working closely with employers, colleges, local authorities, the voluntary sector and training providers to ensure that opportunities are meaningful and supportive.”