Surrey County Council (SCC) is looking primarily to direct towards training opportunities those young people furthest from the labour market. Those recruited are judged to be at very high risk of offending/re-offending and entering or re-entering the criminal justice system. The SCC offer is aimed at ensuring the most high-risk and disadvantaged young people are prioritised, given that they have the potential to most benefit from participation.
Referrals to date have mainly come from people working with young people under the Targeted Youth Support (TYS) offer, but SCC remains open to other sources.
Referrals are assessed by a Surrey CC service management panel who risk rate (using a RAG - red, amber, green - system) to prioritise those referred.
The training takes place at four Surrey pilot sites in collaboration with the different partners involved and its duration will vary from individual to individual.
A minimum of twelve weeks on the project is expected as that is considered the least time likely to be needed for any participant to undertake a meaningful amount of learning and activity in order to gain either a learning qualification (or credits towards), or to capitalise upon an employment opportunity.
All the young people have Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) – these set out a learning pathway with a vocational focus – as such they set a trajectory into employment.
Participants initially receive on-the-job training on how to use and maintain various tools safely and properly. In this framework, National Vocational Qualification awards are offered and support is also provided to help young people to achieve Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) awards.
Participants also receive functional training (literacy and numeracy), at entry level, level 1 and level 2 as individually appropriate and are supported in developing their understanding levels (for example of plant growth) and have the chance to practice workplace processes (for instance the use of small tools).
Furthermore, soft skills are developed in numerous ways - by positive social exposure and by involving young people at every stage of the project, in the design and delivery. Young people are also encouraged to give presentations, walk/talk tours and to take the lead on developing SCC social media presence, photo editing and producing a professional video to capture the project journey.
Young people will need to demonstrate competence – and be supported in understanding how to do so – in order to attain awards accredited by AQA.
The staff team in charge of the training also coaches, assesses, accredits, and generally support participants in different ways.
Qualified youth and community workers help young people work towards qualifications, support them in learning and offer ongoing personal support to young people.
Youth Offending Team (YOT) education specialists from within SCC write functional skills programmes and subsequently verify individual attainment collaborated by external verification.
The same process is followed for AQA provision where this is then delivered and verified with Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development (SOLD) acting as an examination centre.
The full co-production model is implemented - every element of the end-to-end process is designed, planned, delivered and evaluated through co-production.
All decisions are made in the closest possible collaboration with both partners and participants all of whom are regarded and treated as assets.
Participants are supported across and beyond their time on the training programme. They are supported into employment, volunteering, other meaningful activity as agreed between themselves and their support network, and in line with any statutory requirements placed upon SCC.