The Young Person Guarantee has set out an ambitious plan to support all Scotland’s young people to have a bright and prosperous future. It is underpinned by the belief that young people are an asset to the communities in which they live and to potential employers. The Guarantee committed that within the next two years every 16-24 year old in Scotland will either be in paid employment for a period of between 12 and 24 months, enrolled in education, actively involved on an apprenticeship or training programme, or engaged on a formal volunteering or supported activity programme.
CEO of Venture Trust, Amelia Morgan, says:
“The impact of Covid-19 is being felt heavily by young people in Scotland, especially on their future employment prospects. For those young people who were furthest away from the job market before the coronavirus crisis, inequalities are likely to get worse before they get better.”
The Young Person's Guarantee is centred around ensuring young people having access to the right opportunities at the right time. Many of the young people working with Venture Trust are confronted with barriers to getting into work, training or study. These include poverty, problem substance use, poor family relationships, mental health issues, learning and housing issues. They need specialised and sustained support to access employment and other opportunities. This group of vulnerable young people should not be forgotten and at Venture Trust we are committed to ensuring they are not left behind.
We will do this through our personal development and wellbeing support, working with young people with complex life circumstances to feel well and ready to take up employment or other opportunities locally. This development and learning will go hand in hand with our employability support that helps young people build motivation and confidence, develop their CV, interview and communication skills and shows them how to find job opportunities.
To deliver the Guarantee we need a concerted effort and Venture Trust are committed to playing our part along with the private, public, third and education sectors to create opportunities for our young people.
We are proud to publish our 2019-20 Impact Report – our first ever Impact Report. The launch comes at a challenging time when the people we’re here to help are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The report shows how our work delivers results for people. This will be all the more needed as Scotland moves forward in recovery.
Here are some of the highlights:We supported:
Of the people we worked with:
159 people into employment, training, education or volunteering
82% of participants improved employability
72% of participants improved resilience and confidence
74% of participants reduced their risk of offending
We have services for employability, community justice and mental wellbeing and we have clear results for all of them.
You can find the full impact report here: Venture Trust Impact Report 2019-20
We know that over the next year demand on support services is going to be unprecedented. We can help. We’ll continue to get results. But we cannot do this on our own. Your support has and will continue to make it possible for us to reach people in need and help them to create a more positive future for themselves, their families and communities.
Our Head of Programme Performance and Impact Andrew Russell says:
"I'm very excited to launch our first Impact Report. In a tough year, it's been good to celebrate the positive changes individuals have achieved with our support. The results in the report highlight how the people we work with have developed the life skills, stability and confidence needed to reach their potential.”Please have a look at our report – it’s short and it’s got nice photos! – and get in touch if you think we can work together as Scotland recovers.
In the 6 months since lockdown and as Scotland still faces the challenges of coronavirus we continue to be there for those who need our help.
The reduced social and physical contact, self-isolation and disruption of services has had a disproportionate effect on people who were already struggling with complex life circumstances.
In response we literally turned our services outside – in, moving from group-based personal development in Scotland’s wilderness and outdoors in communities to working with smart technology to reach those who need help most in their own homes. Our support service moved online, with all Venture Trust outreach and development staff providing tailored support by phone or digital platforms.
Through our Digital Hubs we have made more than 5550 connections with 400 people to deliver positive impact.
Our support has been a lifeline for the individuals we worked and continue to work with and has made a real difference.
Where are we now?
We are continuing to provide vital support through digital services and where The Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland guidelines allow have resumed face-to-face meetings.
By blending socially distanced face-to-face support in local outdoor spaces with digital services covering personal development, wellbeing, & employability we’re focused on maximising reaching people & building relationships.
This work is only possible because our funders and partners continue to stand with us. We thank you for your ongoing support so we can #buildbackbetter and even stronger to tackle the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
Scotland continues to face the challenges and impacts of COVID-19 including an increase in the number of people seeking mental health support.
There is a critical and growing need in Scotland and the UK for additional mental health support programmes that can enhance existing public services and provide additional support to people in need.
Our board member Dr Adam Burley explores how at Venture Trust we are building on our way of working to further harness the therapeutic power of the outdoors.
Our work, together with other support services and organisations, can play a part in tackling the rise in demand for mental health support.
Read the article in The Scotsman here: Being outside allows minds to wander and wonder – Dr Adam Burley
A young person, or in fact anyone’s, life chances should not be a postcode lottery. Where someone grew up, their family background or previous negative and damaging experiences should not define them.
However, the recent issues involving the exam results of young people in Scotland and the rest of the UK sadly show and reflect the inequality and attainment gaps that exist between people from wealthier and poorer areas. When systems designed and intended to be “fair and credible” result in in disproportionately affecting young people from areas of deprivation, society needs to stop and take note. Algorithms and AI systems will never get this right while young people from deprived areas continue to be left behind.
We know young people from poorer areas already have the odds stacked against them. Scottish government figures show last year, before COVID-19, only 43.5% of children from the most deprived areas got at least one Higher compared to 79.3% of children from the least deprived areas. Research also shows young people from poor families are also three times less likely to be in a job or course after leaving school. And less likely to keep a job.
Achieving good results at school despite the challenges of living in areas of multiple deprivation can be an important lifeline to having a better life. Young people should be judged on their individual performances and efforts and not the address of their school or family.
A fair and credible system would see individuals from poor areas enjoy a fair chance to earn the same grades as their better-off peers. Instead, this year’s U-turn on moderated results has made clear what we’ve always known – that young people’s chances depend too much on the levels of deprivation they grow up in.
This stark revelation of the role poverty plays in people’s chances should make us take a good hard look at the system that creates it. This is partly about investment in schools, but it is also about investment in communities and individuals. Growing up in poverty creates barriers for people that the better off do not have to face. Removing these barriers - poor mental health, loss of confidence, lack of role models – will support young people to succeed in education.
We also acknowledge school is not the perfect fit for every young person. For those who do struggle as a result of barriers and challenges such as chaotic and unstable environments, school might not be a lifeline. Other pathways need to be available for them.
At Venture Trust we specialise in working and supporting young people for whom school has been a struggle or have left school because they are dealing with issues like alcohol and drug misuse, poor family relationships, mental health issues, learning and housing issues.
The young people we work with 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 personal development and learning support for young people helps them set out and achieve their goals, grow in confidence and stability. We help participants to work on skills such as establishing trust, personal boundaries, consequential thinking, problem-solving, dealing with challenging situations, and responsibility and accountability. These life skills need to be acquired before long-term unemployment and the issues this brings can be tackled.
We will sustain our support when restrictions are eased by restarting our innovative Change Cycle employability programme with our delivery partners The Bike Station and Bike for Good. [The programme has been paused during the pandemic.] Working around guidelines, the elements of the programme will include employability sessions, bike construction and maintenance including workshop experience and a short outdoor residential that has work-related tasks, and biking. In the meantime, our employability team continue supporting young people through digital workshops and physical distanced face-to face meetings to help them into jobs, training, study and volunteering.
We have released our independent evaluation that shows with the appropriate and sustained support young people from deprived areas can find a path that is right for them.
We're very proud of this report which shows the success of our Change Cycle programme - and especially we're very proud of our participants for achieving these results. In the current climate, we know that many young people will be looking for support in getting into work. Change Cycle will continue running to offer this support to as many people as we can reach.
Read the full evaluation report here: Evaluation of the Venture Trust’s CashBack Change Cycle 2017-2020
Andrew Russell is Venture Trust's Head of Programme Performance and Impact