European Social Funding has been invested in a programme of support for young people in Dorset to get into work, education and training.

The Skills for Young People project which is open to participants aged 15-24 who are at risk of or, already, not in education, employment or training (NEET). The programme will focus on those who are at risk of social exclusion and young people from marginalised communities.

Whitehead Ross are currently supporting a young person who is aged 15 in secondary school who was referred to the Dorset Skills for Young People project via the school’s pastoral support officer. She was on a list of young people who had been identified as at-risk of becoming NEET due to reduced attendance and disengagement at school. The young person currently does not hold any formal employment history or qualifications.

The young person has a history of disjointed homelife and other environmental factors that are impacting on her engagement in school and other positive behaviours. She demonstrated a lack of enthusiasm for learning and absolutely no confidence in her ability to achieve. She expressed that home wasn’t an environment where she felt valued or supported and was now attached to a social worker who is looking at wider support to move her from home. Her goals were to raise attendance and explore different ways of learning to build a set of skills to take her forward.  She also wanted to show how she could learn using different learning style – expressed that she was a visual/kinaesthetic learner and traditional teaching affected her concentration.

The young person and the group took part in an established social documentary photography project. She was given a disposable camera to take photographs of the things, places and people that motivate her to feel something (pride, love, passion etc.) at the same time learning how photography – partially documentary photography, can tell stories and impact history and learning. The group worked together to curate and manage a photographic exhibition in the school at the end of the project. Each young person decided on a designated role and her role was event coordinator – a task she had never attempted before. This was all mapped against her City and Guilds Level 1 Extended Employability Skills Award.

She led the group and also managed to independently coordinate a fundraising event for Mind Charity on the opening night. She made clear plans, negotiated with the school and baked cakes at home to raise funds. Going over and beyond the project expectations.

During the course she asked for support to look for a part-time job cleaning in the local town based on how confident she had felt during the course.  She took part in a weeklong college taster exploring post-16 courses and was inspired by her new learning experiences.  She also has asked if she can act as a peer mentor to the next group of participants to continue to expand on her event management skills as it’s something she really enjoyed.

It has been suggested that if she commits to raising her attendance further in her next school year she could be given a peer support and role model role working alongside the project.

The young person achieved the City and Guilds Level 1 Extended Employability Skills Award.  Her engagement and attendance at school has drastically improved following her completing all planned goals and targets in her Individual Learning Plan.

Email us on for more information on Dorset Skills for Young People and link you with our experienced delivery partners.