10th April 2019
The following account is written by a Futures for You Future Impact/NEET coach, with permission from the client. All images on this page are stock photographs and do not represent the client. Find out more about The Future Impact Project and Futures for You.
Our NEET (Not in Education , employment or training) service normally means that at age 18 we stop working with clients and their support around education, employment and training is accessed from the Job centre.
For many clients the transition to post 16 EET (education, employment or training) after leaving mainstream education has been problematic and they have dropped out of provision shortly after starting or for some they never even start. It will often take several months to start this process and therefore they often reach 18 before a stable progression route has been established. Moving them forward and equipping them with the strategies to manage their lives is very often far from complete by the time they reach that age.
Future impact has given us the time and flexibility of service/contact to enable clients to make sustainable steps towards managing their own future. I feel that we are not rushing the process but ensuring the pathways are correct and they can manage their own plans.
Case study - Male, currently age 18.
We started working with this young man at age 16 whilst he was in year 11 at school. He had been identified by school as a potential NEET after Y11.
The Family Service and Social services had worked intensively with the client and his family since March 2014.
His attendance at school was very poor. He was on an alternative programme of education.
He was difficult to engage and was very closed to any support offered and appeared angry with the world. He engaged in a wide and unusual range of self-harming behaviours. It was difficult to engage him well enough to determine what was behind the difficulties he was experiencing – whether undiagnosed mental health issues, behavioural issues, past experiences, or a mix of all 3.
His unwillingness to engage encompassed all aspects of his life. He was not eating, sleeping or engaging in family or social life in any recognisable pattern. Routines and patterns were non-existent. His weight was very low and he had no awareness of which day it was or what time of day it was. It was also clear he had no motivation to change any of these things at this time.
There had been several periods of time where he had started to work with CAMHS but he had not found this helpful as he felt that the only solution being offered was medication. This was something he did not want to do as he felt it took away the person he was. It impacted on his identity and self-awareness.
His thoughts about his future were very negative. At this stage he was unable to see that even small changes and steps were needed to start the process. He was slowly becoming aware of the gulf of experience and qualifications that others had built up that he had been unable to gain.
In 2018 a Family Mapping session was planned with the whole family which included both his parents and his younger sister. This was not an easy process for any of them but it initiated a process of honesty and opened up family discussions. This raised awareness of the impact of family dynamics on them all and the part that the past had played in this.
As he approached his 18th birthday, he was just starting to make some of the changes needed and he was starting to take responsibility for these. The Future Impact Project has enabled me to continue to offer support and direction when needed at this crucial time in his development.
He has since been able to acknowledge that his behaviours were his way to protect himself from an early onslaught of bullying and systems that he felt had failed to protect him.
He has taken some important steps in the right direction and can now speak about the traumas that caused the extreme defences he had built up.
He has now engaged in some local training, gained some qualifications and engages in a local music group. He has aspirations for his future and wants to go to college.
There is an acknowledgement that there will be some setbacks but the project will allow some ongoing work to help build resilience.
His communication has massively improved and this is enabling me to work with him to find the right support to meet his current and ever-changing needs.
In his own words:
"when I turned 18 I was nowhere near where I wanted to be and I wouldn't be where I am now without the extra sessions (Future Impact). My FI coach helped me to develop my art which was the area that interested me and she was therefore helping me to develop personally at the same time. This support helped more than any other services I have used . Although I now know it was my own mental health and well being that needed addressing, by using my art these have been helped alongside my developing career pathway."