Students and NEET young people, Professionals and Educators work on Employability and Entrepreneurial skills in the battle against school Dropout and Youth UnemPloyment
Priority AxisTechnological and Social Innovation
Lead partnerArtevelde University College
Project budget4 423 334 €
ERDF amount2 654 000 €
The number of young people (15-24) Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) remains sizeable in the 2 Seas area (ca. 10%) (except the Netherlands), with percentages in the cities involved in this project well above 15%. A significant proportion of these young people left school early and struggles to find sustainable employment. There is a mismatch between the education system, the labour market and the realities of vulnerable youth. For some young people, this leads to demotivation, loss of self-confidence and eventually school dropout and unemployment, posing long-term negative
consequences for their future and society. Existing solutions are fragmented, focus mainly on cure and do not lead to closer collaborations between key stakeholders or substantial system changes. Our challenge is to develop a sustainable shift towards a prevention method in order to meet the needs of the target group whilst meeting the demands and regulations of all stakeholders.
The overall objective is to decrease the number of (at-risk) NEETs by improving their employability through a co-created entrepreneurship programme that enhances entrepreneurial skills. We will create entrepreneur hubs both in secondary schools with a high number of at-risk NEET students and in local communities with a high number of hard to reach NEETs. From within these hubs, young people develop and create pop-ups that answer to the specific needs of the deprived communities in which they live or go to school. We intend to increase their entrepreneurial skills, as well as their selfrespect and motivation. By means of this innovative co-created service, we intend to engage 800 at-risk NEETs leading to a 25% increase of these at-risk NEETs staying in education or becoming (self-)employment, and 800 NEETs, leading to a 25% increase of these NEETs (re)turning to education, training or (self-)employment.This will reduce costs for schools, welfare organisations and employment services.
- Entrepeneur hub pilots in which at-risk NEET young people (+15 years old) create pop-ups from within secondary school together with local stakeholders
- Pilots of entrepreneur hubs in which NEET young people (15-24 years) create community-oriented pop-ups together with local stakeholders
- A feasibility study on the continuation of the SPEED-You-UP approach including a clear business plan for future users.
- Pilot of a training programme for new cities/regions that will implement the SPEED-You-UP entrepreneur hubs.
Cross border approach
Some good practices focusing on the re-integration of NEET’s do exist, but there are currently few possibilities to develop a common strategy for coping with (at-risk) NEET young. To attain this, we need the combined expertise of all participating partners, with the Dutch partners having experience in setting up sustainable businesses in secondary education, the
French being experienced in coaching NEET young people, the Belgian partners being strong in outreach work and community-oriented schools and the UK partners having a track record with regard to serious gaming and entrepreneurship education. In order to succeed our project, we need to combine and translate the methods into in a large scale common methodology for prevention of NEET’s. Only then we can aim for an ambitious approach that will change the way education and employment support for NEET young people is organised.
The number of young people leaving school early and becoming unemployed remains high in the 2Seas region. The COVID19 crisis adds to this challenge and calls for a different approach to support and motivate vulnerable young people to get back on track. SYU offers NEET young people, or those at risk of becoming NEETs, a different approach. From within schools or together with community organisations, they have the opportunity to develop a business pop-up, while at the same time developing entrepreneurial and employability skills.
The PPs have collaborated to develop an entrepreneurship programme that is tailored to the needs of vulnerable young people. It is based on a community-oriented approach and learning-by-doing. The entrepreneurship programme consists of 8 modules: Intro; Talent & Skills, Discovery; Dreaming; Pitching; Designing; Doing; Lessons Learned. The modules are currently being tested by schools (WP1) and community organisations (WP2). They have been developed with in-built flexibility so that they can be applied in several different ways to best meet the needs and preferences of the young people using them, and to be responsive to the context in which they are used. Each module consists of a suite of ready-made session plans for coaches and school staff. These resources are contained within a ‘toolbox’ with search functionality for ease of use. The entrepreneurship programme is accessible on the project website for all project partners, and the schools and community organisations with whom they work. After the first pilot, the modules will be updated based on the feedback of the professionals and young people who have used them.
Alongside the entrepreneurship programme, the project partners have developed a range of materials to support schools and community organisations in installing the local entrepreneur hubs.These include guidelines for setting-up collaboration with stakeholders; an inspirational document on how to start a physical entrepreneur hub; a website and online forum; an online tool to assess skills; guidelines on administrative and legal requirements; and exemplar contracts.
The PPs are currently working together in setting up training sessions for teachers and coaches, which will take the form of webinars and online workshops. In the next year, we look forward to piloting online, physical and hybrid entrepreneur hubs for NEET young people (WP2) while we continue to invest in collaboration with schools (WP1).