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SomersetWorks is an independent, EU Social Fund project supported by the Somerset Education Business Partnership.  The SomersetWorks team liaises with schools and colleges to identify and support students in school from the end of year 10 who are at risk of not making or sustaining a successful post-16 transition.

What we did

Our Young Leaders felt inspired to help other young people find meaningful work.  They researched and found the Somerset Works project and got in touch with the programme leader, Richard Lucas. Following collaborative discussions they put together a work proposal which was designed to solve a challenge for the Somerset Works team – how to communicate with young people in school years 11 to 13 – people aged 15 to 18 – who are, or at risk of, finding themselves, Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). With their own experiences of being unemployed our Young Leaders were fired up to break through the barriers preventing young people becoming engaged with opportunities for work or training. 

Our Young Leaders Work Package

Once the project was approved, our team set about uncovering the current status of approx 90 Somerset-based Year 11 Leavers  – then to support them into employment, education or training as appropriate. Somerset County Council provided contact info under strict supervision of data sharing to allow our young leader team to engage up to 100 NEET young people residing in Somerset whose status was ‘unknown’. Our offer to them was an individual Value Exchange Discussion to help them identify their personal motivations and from there to help them connect with meaningful work opportunities in the region. 

The Ethos delivery team was Charlotte Kinloch, Aaron Fowell, Bailey Thaw and Mariah Pearson – supported by Sarah Fay in project development: all had been recruited for work experience themselves under our kickstart young leaders 18- 25 programme. Our young people contacted a total of 458 other young people via 59 Facebook outreaches, 249 texts and calls at least twice) and by letters sent to 50 addresses where there were no phone numbers. The work was overseen by a senior management team to ensure compliance with data and monitoring requirements but the vast majority of work was done by the young leader team.

The result

We were successful in engaging 100 young NEETS  to participate in a Value Exchange – with 20 having completed a transition pathway into employment, education or training – including 3 engaged on work experience with Ethos VO.   We were able to provide a full status update on 80 young persons. Ten of them were referred back to Somerset Works for further support.  

Skills developed by Young Leaders

Aaron Fowell – Outreach

I helped to draft a nudge letter, draft texts and emails for outreaching purposes for Somerset Works. It feels good to have been able to contribute to something that can genuinely help individuals as well as my peers working on this project.

Bailey Thaw – Outreach

I’m really passionate about helping youths as I’ve been through a lot in my life:  it’s give me motivation and a fiery passion to help and connect with others like me. 

Sarah Fay – Project development, bid writing, funding applications

I am pleased that my work on the Somerset funding bid helped to bring in more money for the Young Leaders project going forward.

Charlotte Kinloch – Project Management

My biggest achievement (at Ethos) is probably bringing the Somerset work to a close. I am really glad I have been able to see this project right through from conception to completion: the majority of the team’s time was concerned directly with outreach,  both finding people who might benefit from our programme and direct one to one discussions to explain our approach and how we are able to help. Alongside this, we  spent time capturing all discussions, and developing individual progress records for all participants.

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Aaron Fowell
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Sarah Fay
Charlotte Kinloch