"An offer of guidance enables young people to make academic and future career choices"

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  • 03/12/2021
  • Tiempo de lectura 4 mins

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Dan White. Head of Health & Targeted Services, People Services Portfolio (Sheffield)
The Guiding City Mention, an international recognition awarded in collaboration with the Diputació de Barcelona, has gone to the city of Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Sheffield offers its citizens different guidance services that seek to connect career guidance and education with people's well-being, involving a variety of organizations willing to offer learning and work experience opportunities to people in need. It also pays special attention to preventing school dropouts and supports and monitors people who neither study nor work (NEETs).

The jury of the Guiding City Mention has valued the city's commitment to offering guidance to all citizens, especially young people, through collaborations with different partners, not only to provide quality guidance services, but to involve other professionals in promoting general well-being.

For the jury, the strength of the city's orientation model lies in the extensive network of organizations that work to meet the orientation, education and training needs of the local population.

The City Council is in the process of creating an integrated and holistic approach to support and guidance after conducting a public survey.

 
What public academic and career guidance services are currently offered in Sheffield?
   
How do your services help and guide young people who neither study nor work to identify and define a pathway within study or work?
 
Through the roles of Targeted Youth Support Advisers and Assistants who work with young people on caseloads to provide information, advice, guidance and placing to 16 – 18-year-old unemployed young people, we also provide caseload support to 19-year-old vulnerable NEET young people. Our caseload model has guidelines, on timelines, how we use our Assessment, Planning, Implementation and Review (APIR) tool and individual development plans.

We provide a bespoke vacancy service for both local employers and training providers wanting to recruit young people, along with a vacancy / opportunities newsletter that is emailed out to young people, along with Advisers and Assistants making direct contact with young people to submit them to opportunities.

All young people's records are stored and regularly updated on the data base. The data base allows us to record all interventions that take place and reduce the risk of young people having to retell their story. It also allows us to record what occupational areas the young person is keen to pursue and because of this we can submit them to appropriate vacancies.

As part of the assessment and caseload model we can identify any barriers that may be preventing a young person successfully moving onto a positive destination, which may require additional support from medical colleagues attached to the team like Speech and Language Therapists or Primary Mental Health Nurses.

We also provide support through a free duty phone line, to young people, their parents and professionals in Sheffield who may find themselves unemployed, having dropped out of a college or training course or their temporary post has come to an end. It is also used by new arrivals into our city, who require support in identifying the landscape, what opportunities are open to them and who may require support around benefits and accommodation.
 
"When young people are in work, it gives them more spending capacity that would impact onto a more buoyant long-term economy and subsequently improved health and wellbeing".

Our work with NEET young people can involve anything from helping to draw up a CV and covering letter, to preparing for an interview, accessing clothes and transportation costs to attend interviews, liaising with agencies, to sorting out funding for childcare placements for teen parents, or helping to apply for universal credit or find a place to sleep that night if they have become homeless.

We also work with 15–16-year-olds, identified as being at risk of not progressing onto a positive post 16 destination or as they are more commonly known as RONI (risk of NEET indicator) to provide careers advice, guidance and placing work to help them successfully transition into a successful post 16 opportunity. Many of those identified have been disengaged from the statutory education system, so may have missed out on the careers education programme that they should have been accessing in school. The work often requires not only discussing and advising on what's available, but also taking them to visit and attend interviews with education, employment, and training providers. 
 
What have, in your opinion, been the main achievements of Sheffield's guidance and counselling services?
 
  • The quality of professional relationships between advisors, young people, and parents / carers.
  • Partnership working with communities', statutory services, and links to training providers.
  • Access to and accuracy of data to recognise and support young people.
 
What different actors are involved in the guidance projects you offer?
 
Fully qualified Careers Adviser and Assistants, Trackers, and access to specialist provision such as Primary Mental Health Nurse and Speech and Language Therapists.
 
What are the biggest challenges for Sheffield's guidance services for 2022?
 
  • Staffing to adequately cover the work and increasing caseloads.
  • Limited opportunities available for 16- to 18-year-olds who are not eligible for universal credit.
  • The Covid 19 pandemic which has left an increasingly large group of young people both emotionally struggling, along with becoming more disengage in the current education process.
  • Access to a comprehensive digital offer across the city, allowing for young people from more deprived areas and neighbourhoods at a disadvantage to their peers.
 
Why should cities bet on offering academic and professional guidance to their citizens in a more systematic, open way for everyone?
 
An offer of guidance and support put in place at the earliest opportunity enables young people to make academic and future career choices and would mean less dependency on state benefits, people falling into areas of criminal justice etc. When young people are in work, it gives them more spending capacity that would impact onto a more buoyant long-term economy and subsequently improved health and wellbeing.
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