GetSkilled, a partnership between National Grid and Warwick, is a UK initiative designed to support 16-20 year old NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people who find it hard to progress into work. The young people start their studies in a Business Learning Centre (BLC) housed within a university, and one of the pilot projects is based here at Warwick.
Individually tailored and lasting up to a year, the young people at Warwick are gaining work-related skills and going on to work experience placements that equip them for the world of work.
Case study - Charles
Charles didn't thrive in sixth form and, coinciding with the passing of a close family member, was in a sad place at the beginning of 2014. Referred by a RightStep adviser he joined GetSkilled in March. Charles says, "I dropped out of sixth form as it wasn't for me, I found out about GetSkilled and thought it would be a beneficial thing for me to be a part of, and I was right!"
Initially, Charles's attendance at the Business Learning Centre (BLC) at Warwick was erratic. He was often unwell, failed to communicate and lacked motivation. An individual learning plan helped him focus and he progressed to attend a work placement for part of the week. GetSkilled puts a strong emphasis on students having the opportunity to experience a variety of roles and his first placement was in retail - working in his grandmother's fabric shop. This not only gave Charles work experience, it also allowed him to support a family member during a difficult time.
Two months later he was applying for a couple of jobs. Finding waiting for replies frustrating, Charles's attendance and punctuality started to lapse. GetSkilled's support and individually targeted plan addressing teamwork and resilience pulled him through. Charles said, "It's a friendly environment and very supportive towards success in whatever it is you want to do. It also helped me to understand that hard work really does pay off in the end." He began attending the gym, and helped other students who were struggling with their fitness. He also studied for and passed his theory driving test.
Spurred on, Charles applied for a number of apprenticeships and before his first interview he visited the Rhead Group, one of National Grid's contractors supporting GetSkilled, and their HR team put him through his interview paces. The next day, he met with a rail signalling company and was offered an engineering apprenticeship. Charles started with them in August, passed his driving test, achieved "star employee" and represented GetSkilled at a presentation. Eight months into his apprenticeship, he faced another hurdle when he received the news that his employer had unfortunately ceased trading. Turning to GetSkilled, he was supported to find an alternative engineering opportunity. Charles commented, "I'm now looking forward to a great future. Thank you for the support and everything that's been done for me to achieve this."