Brandon project to help young people into work or training

A project aimed at encouraging youngsters into work or training will be launched in a vulnerable area of Suffolk.

A report published by Keystone Development Trust, in conjunction with Suffolk County Council, identified Brandon as a town with low aspirations and a high number of young people not in education, employment or training (Neets).

As a result, it has been selected as the pilot for the Aspirations Escalator Project which will aim to raise the ambitions of those under 18 with regard to education and employment.

Over the next 12 months a variety of activities will take place, including a post-school work club for those 16 and over, a public arts project and a youth festival combining sports and music.

The report said: “It is expected that by delivering these specific projects in Brandon, young people will increase their knowledge and confidence and learn valuable transferable skills alongside their positive community relations, which will not only benefit the individual but also the community.”

The study found that in most cases, young people did not know the paths they wished to follow, and some “felt strongly” there were no opportunities in Brandon. Some lacked confidence in themselves and in where they could obtain careers advice.

It was revealed that while young people do have aspirations, there was a lack of awareness of the routes into employment and options available.

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The report followed research by Suffolk County Council in 2010 concerning the proportion of Neets and concluded that as a whole Suffolk had a “disproportionately high” level compared to the national average.

Brandon, which is made up of 17pc under 16, was identified by the council as a place where aspirations were particularly low and found to be in the top fifth of the most deprived wards in Suffolk for housing deprivation.

Up to 20pc of those between 16 and 18 were found not to be in employment, education or training, slightly above the national average.

This led to the development of the Aspirations Escalator Project with the Keystone Trust which will promote a “five Cs framework” – competence, confidence, connection, character and caring/compassion.