More than 1,000 young people in Greater Manchester have accessed pioneering engagement and mentoring programme – FE News

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OVER 1,000 young people aged 15-24 in Greater Manchester have benefited from tailored engagement and mentoring support to help them move forward in life, improve their mental well-being and achieve positive purpose.

Greater Manchester’s ESF NEET and youth employment scheme (not in education, employment or training) was launched in January 2022 and is aimed at young people who have been hardest hit by Covid. Young people in the program receive bespoke comprehensive advice, guidance and mentoring tailored to their individual needs and situation

The program was launched after many young people in the city region were negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic through lack of education, job loss, poor mental health and barriers to moving to a positive destination. It has also supported young refugees living in the city region after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Partners Career Connect and Ingeus each received £5m from the European Social Fund to run the scheme, which aims to reach 6,000 young people by September 2023. Career Connect supports young people between the ages of 15 and 19, while Ingeus works with young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

Young people supported under the program have spoken out about how it has improved their career prospects and is encouraging others to get involved, including a 21-year-old refugee from Ukraine.

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When Sofiya* arrived in Manchester after fleeing Ukraine, she was concerned about finding a job and furthering her career as a musician and singer. Ingeus’ FutureYou program proved to be a valuable lifeline.

Supported by FutureYou mentor James, Sofiya was introduced to a project by radio station and arts organization Reform Radio. A track she collaborated on was broadcast live on radio at the end of the two-week project, which helped build confidence. She has since taken on a full-time job to help with her finances while she continues to expand her role in the music industry.

Sofia said:

“I loved everything in the courses with reform. James is lovely and was really nice to talk to, he gave me some good advice. He would stop by my house every week, which was really cool, and ask how I was doing.”

Brandon Tustin, 18, of Bolton, also recently completed an internship supported by Connect To Your Future (CTYF) and will begin training in September.

He said:

“After leaving college early because I didn’t enjoy it and felt like I was on the wrong track, I visited Connexions in Bolton and found out about CTYF. I met my advisor who helped me to identify my interests and future goals. I was then given information on how to continue my journey and was referred to an internship where I gained valuable work experience that boosted my confidence and provided me with skills that enabled me to successfully complete an apprenticeship that I completed in September this year start .

“I would definitely recommend the CTYF project to other young people, especially those who are unsure of their career interests.

“My plans for the future are to start my apprenticeship in September, to complete the associated qualification and to further qualify and gain self-confidence in the process.”

Councilor Eamonn O’Brien, GMCA Portfolio Lead for Education, Skills, Work, Apprenticeships and Digital said:

“Reaching the milestone of 1,000 participants is a great achievement for the ESF’s NEET and youth employment programme. We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the lives of young people in our metropolitan area and it is our job to ensure they are supported to achieve their professional aspirations.

“The program has acted as a catalyst for some young people, building trust, identifying future goals and aspirations and empowering them to take that first step up the career ladder and we aim to reach even more young people in Greater Manchester. I urge young people, parents and carers, as well as support services and people working with young people aged 15-24 to get involved in the program and take advantage of all the benefits it brings.”

Joanne Roney, Chief Executive Lead for Skills and Apprenticeships Greater Manchester added:

“Greater Manchester’s NEET and youth employment scheme has been designed to give a boost to young people in our city area who are negatively impacted by Covid and need additional guidance or support to explore their next steps in employment, education or training. The program brings together a variety of knowledgeable partners who are able to provide expert advice and guidance to ensure our young people have the best possible support to move forward in life.”

Greater Manchester is committed to supporting young people and those interested in finding out about education and training opportunities are invited to visit the GMACS platform.

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The GMACS tool is part of the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s strong commitment to young people finding support and information to ensure they get the best advice and resources, as well as free travel from Our Pass (Homepage – Our Pass) to access to get a wide range of experiences and opportunities in Greater Manchester.

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Anyone interested in getting involved with the ESF scheme please visit and to to learn more.

*Sofiya’s name has been changed to protect her identity

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