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30th Jan 2014

Adviza’s Energise Programme is having considerable impact on young people across the Thames Valley. In the first year of the programme, created to support young people aged 14-16 at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training), over 600 young people were referred from 35 schools and over half of them achieved positive outcomes. 

The programme is designed to build resilience, confidence and aspiration to enable vulnerable young people to progress in their lives particularly in terms of education and work.  It is offered to schools in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes identified as having a high concentration of at-risk young people, for example those with family issues, young offenders, young people in care, substance misusers, young carers and those with mental health issues.

One young person who has benefitted from Energise is Amy*, a year 11 student.  Amy was referred to the programme by her school as she was a young carer to her terminally ill mother and was struggling with low confidence, self esteem and motivation issues.  The school was also aware that there is unemployment within the family and high welfare dependency.

Following a needs assessment by an Energise Adviser, Amy was placed on Pathway 1, an intensive 12-week support programme.  She attended one-to-one and group sessions which helped her to feel more positive about going to school and to understand the importance of school.  

She also took part a five-day residential and six additional activity days. These were an excellent opportunity for Amy to focus on herself and have a break from home. At times Amy found it difficult staying away from home as she was the main carer for the family.  However she recognised the importance of addressing her own needs and pushing herself out of her comfort zone.  During the residential, Amy’s confidence grew daily: she built some excellent relationships with her peers which gave her a safe environment to try all the activities, and she gained an Entry level 3 qualification in personal achievement.

In addition, Amy completed a week of work experience in a childcare setting, a valuable opportunity not offered by her school.  This experience and the careers guidance she received from her Adviser helped her make a really important decision about her future.   She decided to go on to college to do a level 3 diploma in childcare.  Amy also took up a part time job in a hair salon.

*name has been changed

The Energise programme is a pilot for the DWP Innovation Fund, part of a series of government measures to tackle youth unemployment.  It is a payment by results project and the risk of under delivery is held by the social investors who fund the programme. The contract was awarded by DWP in 2012 to a new charity partnership, Adviza and Social Finance. 

Energise Project Manager Lee Teideman commented: “In partnership, Adviza and Social Finance have built a strong delivery model and use individual profiles to break down targets for delivery staff.  This has been a positive learning experience for Adviza, and Social Finance has played an active part in helping the project meet its targets successfully”.


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