Non-formal learning: Good practice in re-engaging young people who are NEET
Non-formal learning: Good practice in re-engaging young people who are NEET

Thomas Spielhofer, Helen Marson-Smith and Kelly Evans

Research Report, May 2009

The LGA commissioned NFER working with the National Youth Agency (NYA) to conduct a research study aimed at examining good practice in the provision of non-formal learning aimed at re-engaging young people aged 16-18 who are NEET. The research involved visits to eight projects, which had been identified by Connexions, local authority and other contacts as exhibiting good practice in such provision. Interviews with 16 projects workers and 12 project participants were used to explore the key principles of good practice in re-engaging young people who are NEET through non-formal learning approaches, which are presented in a guidance document aimed at developing and commissioning non-formal learning programmes.

Case Studies

Smart steps | Stoke challenge

Key Findings:

The research found that project exhibiting good practice in delivering such provision:

  • Establish effective partnerships with other organisations: to recruit young people onto their projects, provide support to overcome personal issues or challenges, identify young people’s needs and previous experiences, and help them move onto positive outcomes
  • Employ skilled and motivated project staff: who have the ability to relate to young people and their concerns, are friendly and non-judgemental and are able to help overcome young people’s fears and barriers to learning
  • Tailor their project activities to young people’s aspirations and needs: based on effective initial assessment procedures, development planning and the delivery of flexible and responsive learning activities Develop innovative activities and delivery approaches: to overcome young people’s fears and barriers to learning, including using new technologies, group work and delivering activities in a non-threatening and friendly environment
  • Put in place systems to monitor and evaluate provision regularly: by gathering young people’s views regularly, focussing on recruitment, project start-up, delivery of activities and how the project helps them to move on to positive outcomes, in order to ensure that provision continues to meet project participants’ needs
  • Develop formal or informal ways of recognising young people’s achievements: using recognised qualifications or certificates, or more informal methods including praise, rewards or awards
  • Support young people’s transition to positive outcomes: using, for example, work experience placements, college visits, and external advice and guidance to help choose destinations that are suitable to their needs and aspirations and will keep them engaged; and supporting them through the transition process by acting as a supportive adult.

Further Information:
Format: PDF, 16pp
Sponsor(s): LGA

How to cite this publication:

Spielhofer, T., Marson-Smith, H. and Evans, K. (2009). Non-Formal Learning: Good Practice in Re-engaging Young People who are NEET. Slough: NFER.