The YES (Youth Employability Support) Project is a three-year scheme which has helped more than 400 people not in education, employment or training aged 15-24 to improve their chances of work and overcome the barriers they face. It has done this with personalised employability and development programmes tailored to the individual’s needs, including one-on-one support, work placements, team building and skills training.
Launched in July 2016, The YES Project is a partnership between nine youth organisations and charities, and covers deprived wards of Leicestershire. Every participant is assigned a personal mentor and the aim is to give each individual self-belief, the right skills and readiness for work, with a personalised set of support and training based on their circumstances.
They can access as many or as few opportunities as they want, with the package of support intended to be as holistic as possible. There is a roughly equal split of genders, a quarter of participants are disabled and a third from ethnic minorities. Around 55% are economically inactive and 45% unemployed.
The project works hard to reduce barriers that these young people may face, such as low self-esteem, language and cultural barriers, mental health issues, substance abuse, homelessness, being in care or having a criminal record. It also tries to help with childcare and transport issues, and there is an annual awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of participants. For many, this is the first time their efforts and enthusiasm have been recognised, providing a real confidence boost.
Such has been the success and positive feedback on the project that it is currently waiting to hear if its funding has been extended for another three years. Team manager Abdul Asghar says: “The transformations we have seen in these young people are inspiring and the project has outperformed all targets. It is a really inspiring place to work.”
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