Councillors have signed off a six-figure scheme to set up a ‘middle-tier organisation’ to bridge the gap between education and employers in Doncaster.
Council cabinet members agreed to spend £325,000 over four years to fund the project which aims to ensure pupils have access to high quality careers education, information, advice and guidance, jobs and future careers
Key features of the organisation are set to be based on the former Expect Youth programme which aims to ensure ‘high quality youth-centred provision’ is available across the borough.
A report published in 2016 found fewer young people in Doncaster were reaching a ‘sustained destination’ post-16 and post-19 than nationally.
It added there was a ‘clear sense that young people did not feel that they were receiving high quality guidance’.
Careers education, information, advice and guidance was said to be ‘fragmented’ and in some places, ‘poor’.
The report added young people were ‘not understanding; the pathway to their desired career and were making ‘poor choices’ in the selection of qualifications.
This resulted in ‘low levels’ of qualification above Level 3 and 4 and contributed towards the low skilled profile of the Doncaster workforce.
A report seen by councillors identifies a ‘skills gap’ in Doncaster which ‘will increase post-Brexit’. Doncaster has also been identified as an area where automation will stifle job creation.
Polling data by Doncaster Chamber and the council show businesses are finding it harder to recruit skilled, manual, technical and professional managerial positions than they were just a year ago.
in the longer term the organisation hopes to be self-sufficient and sustained in the place through funding from the education and business sectors alongside securing cash from available funding pots.
Coun Nuala Fennelly, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “This is something I personally feel passionately about, we need to do everything we can to raise the aspirations of our young people and to help them achieve their full potential.
“This is all about improving the links between education and business.”
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones added: "We do have a track record of delivering.
"When you look at Expect Youth and the amount of funding that brought in it demonstrates we look innovatively to supply the services that our young people deserve.
"What ever happens, we want to make sure this is a sustainable alternative to make sure our young people get the correct careers advice.
"Let's not hide - this is one of the areas that is down to our schools that should be delivering this but we will ensure our young people are getting the better advice in order to get the best gains they can."