Venue: Pendragon, Invicta House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions
Contact: Theresa Grayell 01622 694277
14:00 - 14:45 pm
(1) The Chairman welcomed Penny Denne and Jonathan Smith to the meeting
(2) The Chairman invited Penny to give the Committee an overview of her role and responsibility. Penny explained that she was the Skills and Employability Programme Officer for West Kent and also, as necessary, provided support in Mid Kent. Her role included planned support and engagement work. Penny also co-ordinated the countywide Vulnerable Learners Project
(3) Penny gave an overview of the Vulnerable Learners Project. She explained that there has been a pilot phase (phase 1) of the project which had been very successfully run. The target number of vulnerable learners for phase 1 was 80, 69 vulnerable learners had started the scheme. Phase 2 is currently running, the target number is 35, 27 vulnerable learners have been recruited with the possibility of more starting, exceeding the target. The four cohorts of vulnerable learners were: those with learning difficulties or mental health issues, youth offenders, care leavers and young parents.
Q – Of the four cohorts is it the case that care leavers are the least successful.
(4) Penny replied that in her view the most challenging group were young parents, who had dropped out of education/training to have a family and were in effect NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training). There was more support for Children in Care under the age of 18, whereas young parents who had started a family had additional pressures including financial, there was not so much support for these young people as maybe there should be.
Q – What are the common barriers to vulnerable people getting involved in an apprenticeship?
(5) Penny explained that often vulnerable people did not know how to prepare themselves for employment or the route for advice. She stated that her team provided that service, they engaged with schools to talk about apprenticeships and to try to endorse that with employers.
Q – Is there a tension in the link between Further Education colleges and the Kent Association of Training Organisations (KATO)?
(6) Penny replied that officers worked closely with KATO and also pulled training resources in from all parts of the sector.
Q – You are the officer for West Kent, is there another officer for East Kent?
(7) Penny replied that there were Skills and Employability Programme officers for both East and Mid Kent. These officers also took a team lead for specific area of work; hers was the Vulnerable Learners Project.
Q – How would a 16 year old with a baby find out about your service? Would you look to guide them into education/training or is parenthood seen as a career option?
(8) Penny explained that for each of the four cohorts in the Vulnerable Learners project there was a cohort champion from the relevant KCC team, for example the cohort champion for the youth offender’s cohort came from the youth offending service. In relation to young parents, the cohort champion would have come from the young parent’s team ... view the full minutes text for item 15.