On Monday 23rd October, Pobal launched a research report, conducted by Quality Matters, which highlights good practice for working with young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) under the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP).

The research entitled ‘Kickboxing, kindness and going the extra mile: good practice in working with NEETs under SICAP’ interviewed 95 stakeholders including young people (aged 15 – 24 years) who have participated in SICAP, programme implementers’ staff and partner organisations.

A total of 19 good practice recommendations emerged from the research under the headings of

  • Engaging young people
  • Working with young people
  • Partnership working
  • Organisational development.

The research found the most effective ways to engage young people was getting in the dole queue and meeting young people where they gather or spend time, bringing young people to the programme or bringing the service to them where transport was an issue, and providing short taster courses as clear pathways into other longer term programmes. Interestingly, social media was found to be better at keeping people on board rather than engaging them initially.  For example, using WhatsApp to keep in touch with young people and support each other once they had attended a group, was more effective than using social media as a method of raising awareness of the programme at the start.

One in five young people interviewed through the research described suffering from recent anxiety or depression, while 16 participants reported suffering from emotional distress as a result of recent unemployment. Addressing issues related to housing, health, mental health, substance abuse, childcare and family difficulties was found to be essential to ensuring young people could continue to engage and progress in education and employment.

Many of the young people surveyed had negative experiences of schools so ensuring community education and workplace training is clearly differentiated from the school environment was found to be important, for example action based learning or using real work scenarios for training. Follow-up was also found to be key in ensuring young people do not fall through the cracks.

The research was funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Social Fund under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning PEIL (2014 – 2020).

To download the summary report and the full report, click on the links:

Kickboxing, Kindness and Going the Extra Mile: Good Practice for Working with NEETs under SICAP – Summary Report

Kickboxing, Kindness and Going the Extra Mile: Good Practice for Working with NEETs under SICAP – Full Report 

Kickboxing, Kindness and Going the Extra Mile: Good PRactice for Working with NEETs under SICAP – Pobal Press Statement