With the latest figures showing that the number of young people not in employment, education or training has risen by 1.3 percent compared to the same quarter last year, the charity UK Youth has called for non-formal programmes to be given greater formal accreditation.
UK Youth, the charity which supports three quarters of a million young people to take part in inspiring and motivating learning experiences outside school, argues that greater formal accreditation for non-formal programmes is the key to supporting many young people who are NEET. Under the current rules young people on gap years or doing voluntary work are identified as being NEET even though the programmes can lead to the development of skills which are highly valued by employers.
The charity believes that the impact of non-formal programmes is undervalued. They give young people the confidence and skills to get into work, training or full-time education and this is a key element in resolving the problem of helping youngsters get themselves out of the NEET trap.
Large numbers of young people take part in the Youth Achievement Awards and gain confidence from the activities they are involved in. Throughout the programme they build up their level of personal responsibility and leadership skills. Initially, a young person may be challenged to not lose their temper throughout a residential weekend away or to take part in outdoor activities such as rock climbing. Further into the programme they may be helping to organise the transport and supporting the leader with other administrative tasks. It is argued that this type of non-formal programme should be given some form of accreditation.
Many young people find themselves in situations with complex issues which need to be resolved. These include living in areas where there are high levels of deprivation and where their families have not been in employment for several generations. They need more accredited stepping stones gained through non-formal learning before they can even reach NVQ level 2. Without confidence and the ability to interact they cannot access any form of training.