1259330_3869-300x225Young people in particular have been hit hard by the rising unemployment and economic crisis, in 2011 only 34% were employed, the lowest figure ever recorded by Eurostat, and in July 2012 youth unemployment had reached 22.6%. A key target group identified by Eurofound (2012) are those young people ‘not in employment, education or training’ (NEET) and the number of this ‘lost generation’ is growing to record levels.

Considered to be one of the most disengaged from the labour market; the NEET rate across Europe has seen significant increases. From 2008-2011 NEET levels increased by 34.4% in Spain, 18.3% in UK, 22.1% in Poland and 17% in Italy. Also identified are vulnerable subgroups within the NEET category-young people with an immigrant background are 70% more likely to become NEET than nationals; and young people suffering disability are 40% more likely. If youth disengagement persists, it can lead to long term unemployment, growth in the growing phenomenon of ‘discouraged workers’ leading to long term labour market exclusion and ultimately to serious long term consequences for Europe.

As participation in adult learning continues to fall there is an urgent need for VET providers and organisations to reach, motivate and support NEET young people, as their disengagement means ‘that they will not come looking’ and a powerful role can be played in engaging vulnerable groups back into learning.

1428657_76039689-300x300EnGage aims to increase participation of NEET young people, particularly vulnerable subgroups of young disabled and immigrant, into VET by upskilling VET providers in effective engagement methodologies. It will produce a multilingual, multicultural Train the Trainer toolkit for VET providers. This will aid the successful inclusion and retention of NEET young people, thereby providing sustainable pathways to the labour market.

A secondary aim is to raise awareness of heterogeneity of the NEET population across member states so that adaptation can accommodate diversity of NEET profile.

Our specific objectives are:
– to upskill VET providers in innovative methodologies to engage NEET population, particularly young immigrants and disabled young people, and increase their participation of onto a sustainable pathway to employment;
– to gain in depth understanding of good practice in engagement methodologies by VET providers for NEET young people;
– to gain in depth understanding of needs of NEET young people and variation in characteristics of NEETs across partner countries;
– to assist improvements in quality and innovation of NEET engagement methodologies in vocational education and training systems, institutions and practices;
– to ensure high quality of the new training resource by carrying out thorough testing with VET providers and NEET young people, including immigrants and disabled young people;
– to transfer (including adaptation) existing train the trainer materials to create a multilingual and multicultural multimedia DVD and resource toolkit for VET providers to effectively engage NEET young people;
– to promote the widespread uptake and use of the EnGage toolkit focusing on universities, vet institutions, social partners with access to NEETs and other training bodies with potential to mainstream and accredit the toolkit.