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Reducing social inequality for young people in Scotland and Europe

Venture Trust has taken its expert knowledge and evidence-led approach to helping young people struggling with multiple and complex issues, including long term unemployment, to the European stage.

Chief executive officer Amelia Morgan was a keynote speaker at a Working Group in Brussels on Improving the Performance of Labour Markets and Social Systems : “Young people in Europe: how to reduce the number of NEETs?”

Her presentation to a group of European social partners highlighted the context in Scotland regarding youth employment, the skills agenda and the issues we see for young people.

The focus of the working group will be on how to reduce the number of young people who are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEETs) in Europe. This may result in a joint or co-ordinated social partners’ proposals or actions, which will take into consideration national practices and will be related to the European process.

“Venture Trust is sharing our outdoor learning approach to helping young people acquire the life skills to be ready for work and to then transition well and keep a job,” Amelia said.

“Our organisation has been working in the outdoors with vulnerable groups for more than 20 years. We have a distinctive and unique approach. Venture Trust supports individuals to develop the skills to become more employable and enjoy more stable lives. The outdoor element is a key part of our programme, but it produces great results because we weave community engagement and ongoing support into our offer, and that is what produces sustainable outcomes.”

Through Inspiring Young Futures – a programme for young people – Venture Trust has supported 2,200 disadvantaged young people to overcome multiple and complex life circumstances during the past 10 years. This has resulted in 1,150 individuals achieving positive destinations – jobs, training or volunteering.

How did we achieve this? Over 2,000 individuals received 1-to-1 outreach support in local communities. One thousand young people were supported to take part in personal development courses, using experiential learning with cognitive and therapeutic developmental techniques in Scotland’s challenging wilderness environments. We have also helped 120 individuals gain recognised qualifications.

Other impacts included 84% improved confidence, 89% were more employable, 74% improved community bonds and 70% increased use of community services.

Youth unemployment figures in Scotland have dropped significantly over the past few years and a target to cut youth unemployment in Scotland has been met four years ahead of schedule. This is encouraging. However, thousands of young people still remain long-term unemployed because they lack the very basic life skills needed to begin working towards securing and sustaining a job.

Evidence shows being unemployed when young leads to a higher likelihood in later life of being impacted in terms of pay, high unemployment, fewer opportunities, and poorer health.

The people Venture Trust help first require significant investment to achieve greater stability – addressing chaotic or destructive behaviours to become ready for training and employment so that they can sustain a job.

Our impact driven results will contribute to supporting a group of young people throughout Europe who continue to struggle and need support. Venture Trust and our partners will help them tap into their potential by giving them the skills to change their lives.

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