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A new programme re-engaging young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) with learning and employment opportunities in Greater Manchester has launched.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority has awarded Career Connect and Ingeus with £5million respectively from the European Social Fund to deliver its NEET and Youth Employment Programme.

Running between January 2022 and September 2023, the programme will support 6,000 of the city-region’s most disengaged young people aged between 15 and 24 by providing bespoke advice, guidance and individualised support to make progress.

After joining a similar programme in September 2021, Chloe Allen, 18 from Oldham, is encouraging others to explore their options.

She said: “I left college when I found out I was pregnant with twins. Being a young mum as well as helping my dad look after my sister who has disabilities meant that I didn’t have much time to myself.

“I got some advice off a friend and she signposted me to the Stepping into NHS programme.

“At the beginning, I felt drained and I was nervous. My anxiety gets bad when I meet new people but I took a risk and I realised that nothing comes easy.

“None of my friends have kids so learning with other people I could relate to was amazing. We’ve got a WhatsApp group and contacted each other on Snapchat. Knowing I had that support felt good.”

Since completing the programme, Chloe has secured a work placement at Royal Oldham Hospital, which she hopes will give her real life examples to draw on when she applies for full-time work.

Chloe added: “I’m not only doing this for me but a better future for my little boys and I’d like to thank my Dad, my boyfriend and my cousin, Sam for all their support throughout this programme and the inspiration they have given me.

“I’ve grown in confidence and I’m so proud of myself. I don’t even have the words for it – I feel so encouraged and can’t wait for the future.

“To anyone who doesn’t know where to start, you just need to have faith in yourself. Think about what it is you want and go for it – don’t be influenced by what other people think or say.”

The NEET and Youth Employment Programme has been developed after many young people in the city-region were negatively impacted as a result of Covid-19.

Career Connect will support those aged between 15 and 19 and Ingeus will focus on young adults between 18 and 24 years.

Councillor Bev Craig, lead member for Education Skills, Work, Apprenticeships and Digital in Greater Manchester said: “We know that the pandemic has had a significant impact on our young people.

“Those in education had their learning disrupted and those in work, particularly across the retail and hospitality sector, have been affected by furlough or job losses.

“We want them to know that they haven’t been forgotten. The NEET and Youth Employment programme has been developed to give a helping hand to those who aren’t sure what their next step should be.

“The programme brings together a network of experienced partners who can provide specialist advice and guidance, ensuring our young people get the best possible support.

“Like Chloe, we hope that this programme boosts confidence and encourages the city-region’s young people to reach their ambitions.”

The £5m awarded to Career Connect follows their recent success in being awarded funding from the Greater Manchester Entry To Employment (ETE) programme, which supports people on probation into employment or learning.

For more information about either of the two programmes, please visit Start FutureYou or Career Connect's Connect to Your Future page.

Or, to find out more about careers with the Northern Care Alliance NHS Trust, of which Royal Oldham Hospital forms part of, please visit their WorkSTART page.


Article Published: 08/02/2022 09:49 AM