28 October 2013

National praise for Facebook and Twitter work in Brighton & Hove to track 16-18 year olds

Facebook and Twitter have helped make Brighton & Hove one of the country’s most successful cities in keeping 16-18 year olds in employment, education or training.

Innovative work to ‘track’ 16-18 year olds by Brighton & Hove City Council’s Youth Employability Service (YES) has been highlighted by national body the Local Government Association.  This comes as councils face increasing pressure to use new technology to reduce costs and help young residents improve their life chances.

Work by YES has seen the numbers of 16-18 year olds whose situation is not known fall from 12.8% in 2011/2012 to 4.8% in 2012/13. This has fallen further to 3.9% for the first quarter of 2013/2014.YES has helped 463 young people in the last year with the numbers of those not in education, employment or training falling from 7.8% in 2011 to 6.6% last year.

 The Local Government Association (LGA) has recognised these achievements and YES has been highlighted in a new national report.

Crucial to achieving this has been a proactive approach to gathering information to help track young people whose situation is not known or could become not known. An important part of this approach is the use of social media.
YES’ Facebook page has over 800 “likes”, while on Twitter the organisation has almost 700 followers. YES advisers also have their own individual Facebook page, which they use to keep in contact with their clients. These platforms are used not only to promote the service and to communicate with clients, but also to track young residents.

Another way Brighton and Hove has achieved these results is by providing Single Apprenticeship Pathways. This includes working closely with the new Apprenticeship Training Agency and Skills Shop.
Jay Parsons, 17: "Going to the Whitehawk YES drop-in has really, really boosted my confidence, and skills in communicating and CV writing."
Marc Gorry, 18: "They helped me find a volunteering opportunity which has now led to a full time apprenticeship. The advisers helped to build my confidence; they are very helpful and the drop-in is a friendly place. Without the Brighton & Hove Youth Employability Service (YES) I would be sitting at home doing nothing with no help or support from anybody for careers advice, but because of them I have found the right apprenticeship for me."
Cllr Jason Kitcat, Brighton & Hove City Council Leader, said: “During such tough economic times it’s vital that we do everything we can to help our young residents into education, employment or training.
“Making use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with 16-18 years olds means that we can alert them to the  right opportunities to progress their careers at the right times. This is cheap and simple digital technology making a real impact in people’s lives.
“The low numbers of young residents not in employment, education or training just shows how effective the work of our Youth Employability Services is and that’s great news for the young people themselves, their families and the city.”
Ends

Notes to editors:
1.    Brighton & Hove City Council’s YES service is featured as a case study in The Local Government Association’s publication ‘Tracking young people – a ‘how to’ guide for council’s. See www.local.gov.uk or call 020 7664 3000.
For more information contact the Brighton & Hove media team on 01273 291 555