Bridging the gap between school and adult life

A SCHEME aimed at encouraging school-leavers in East Sussex into education, employment or training has been hailed a success.

Fifty young people across the county who were facing an uncertain future on leaving compulsory education completed the summer transition project organised by East Sussex County Council.

The project, which included team-building exercises, arts and outdoor activities, was aimed at supporting young people to gain the skills and confidence necessary to improve their future prospects.

Of those who completed the project, more than 90 per cent are now enrolled in further education, employment or training, including 17-year-old Jo Laming, from Newhaven, who is now studying at college in Brighton.

She said: “Taking part in the project helped me to gain more confidence to talk to other people and to be myself. I learned that you can’t achieve anything in life if you don’t work for it.

“I thought the group workshops we did were really helpful because we had to communicate with other people and talk about our ideas.”

Gabriella Waylen, 16, completed the project in Wealden and is now studying catering and taking A-levels at Uckfield Community College.

She said: “I really enjoyed being part of the project and it helped me a lot. I found it difficult to talk to people I didn’t know but doing the course helped me to develop better social skills.

“I had quite a bleak outlook on life and low attendance at school, but know I’m doing really well.

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do but going on the project helped me to find a career path and now I can see a future for myself.”

Cllr Nick Bennett, county council lead member for learning and school effectiveness, said: “In an increasingly competitive work climate, the value of young people furthering their career prospects through education or work-based training can’t be overstated.

“The young people who enrolled on the scheme were in many cases unsure of the next step to take on leaving compulsory education, and the value of the project is evident not only in the numbers of those who went on to work or study, but in the feedback we received from youngsters.

“A lot of them have described how taking part helped them to feel more confident, to get on with other young people and adults and to appreciate the value of education and training.”

Across East Sussex, 50 young people completed the summer transition project. Of these, 40 are now attending a further education college, four are enrolled at a school sixth form or sixth form college, two are in employment and training to NVQ level two or above, and four are not in education, employment or training.