Best Practice Example


g2Brandon is 17 and is currently unemployed and feeling very despondent about his employment prospects. He would like to be a mechanic as he has learned a great deal about car maintenance from his cousin. He enjoyed school as “it was a laugh” and he could “see his mates” but missed all his exams.

He said he didn’t mind at the time but now regrets having no qualifications and “ending up with nothing” and being “bored and lonely”. He said he often used the internet to look for jobs and courses.


Example strategy for dealing with this young person

  1. Introduce the concept of Goal Setting to Brandon, this will enable him to logically plan the steps he needs to take in order to achieve his employment goals. (More information on this process can be found in Module 6 Self Development)


  1. Support Brandon to research a suitable course relating to car maintenance and identify the entry requirements for this training. Brandon has already identified that he uses the internet for employment research, encourage this but do not do the research for him, it is important that the young person has ownership over their goal setting experience, your role is to guide and support.


  1. If qualifications are needed identify what they are and the steps needed to achieve these. Are they available? When? Where? Can Brandon apply now? Are there costs involved? Are there alternative routes to achieve the qualifications? Is there government support available?


  1. Set an action plan from Brandon’s current situation to the desired situation, this may entail setting 3-4 different goals. If there are many steps from the current to the desired situation it is advisable to set many small goals rather than one large goal with multiple steps. This enables the young person to achieve “bite size” steps and can help make the process more manageable. While setting the action plan ensure the steps are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, realistic and Timely (SMART) there is no point in setting unrealistic or vague goals that could affect the young persons self esteem or motivation.


  1. Regularly check in with Brandon’s progress, goal steps on paper may seem quite small but progress can drop falter after the initial motivation of planning a goal or other external factors may affect progress.


  1. If needed reassess the steps, setbacks and changes in circumstances may make some steps unattainable, which may affect the young persons progress.


  1. Reassure and offer praise when steps are completed, this will reinforce the young persons motivation. Acknowledge the progress being made and highlight the journey the young person is making towards their goal.


Select one of the following case studies and identify the steps you as a worker would take to help the young person involved.


g1Carla lives in a small market town in Meath. She was enrolled on a Further Education (FE) course but dropped out due to a combination of transport difficulties and the frustrations of traveling in to the college to find that on several occasions, lectures had been cancelled. Together with a friend who also ended up withdrawing from the course, they then had to wait for the evening bus to take them back home. Her parents and family all became very disillusioned with the situation. Because of this, her younger sister had refused to consider going on to FE and has opted instead to work at a “job without training” vegetable packing depot in her home village. The whole family are very disenchanted with FE in general.



g3Susan is a 19 year old female who had attended a High School. She left at 16 with poor qualifications, no Maths or English exams. She had not enjoyed school and was pleased to leave but now said that she would be pleased to go back… work had not been as pleasant or easy as she had expected.

She had been employed at local burger company but hated it and felt that she had been very badly treated. She had got into restaurant work with some basic training which was much better but had then been laid off because they were cutting back on staff.

She had attended college for a year and a half, finished her first year course which was based on Sport but she had then found the second year course too hard, felt she couldn’t do it, and dropped out.

She is living with her boyfriend who is also unemployed. She wanted to be a carer in the longer term and would be interested in getting back into college if she could find the right course, but her first priority was to get a job and things were such that



g5Jenny is 19. At 15 she left school two months prior to the standard point of exit due to becoming pregnant, and although predicted a number of top grades in her final exams, actually attained very low grades across the subjects.

Her situation was made more difficult given that she fell out with her father and step-mother, and had to move away to live with her mother.

Initially she claimed Income Support but later obtained work in a care home, having for quite some time intended to do so for her employment.

This work was also interrupted, first as she suffered a violent partner, forcing her to move again. Recently settled in a new area with a new partner, she embarked on searching for work again but fell pregnant a second time. She now wants to study retaking her exams..

Jenny maintains an interest in working in care, and understands the challenges of the role. Her initial interest in this area arose from caring for her grandmother. She has aspirations to be a senior care manager.



g4Lee is 17, currently homeless and unemployed. Lee enjoyed his time at school. He left at the end of secondary education having successfully completed a day release carpentry and plastering course at the College of West Anglia, alongside his exams, of which he passed English, Maths and Science. His successful completion of the day release course entitled him to a guaranteed place at COWA to embark on a carpentry diploma.

Lee completed the first three months of the diploma course, but was “kicked out”. He was asked to leave due to poor attendance. He “felt gutted” by this because his poor attendance was due to him “being homeless”. Despite being given several warnings, he did not feel that anyone understood his situation.

After leaving college Lee started working full time for his grandad, plastering. However, this only lasted two weeks and his grandad sacked him. The main problem for Lee was that he found the demands of working full time “really hard”, especially having to get up at 06:30 every day.

He is trying to get into a hostel, and this is his immediate priority. He feels very frustrated as he knows what he wants to do, but does not feel there is any support for him. He does have access to the internet, but has not as yet thought about using it to try and find a