The Covid 19 pandemic has worsened the situation for young people and adults from disadvantaged backgrounds in terms of inequality and life chances resulting in an increase of social and economic inactivity. One of the biggest barriers for employment among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds such as BAME is lack of GCSE English and Maths qualifications. Every year 35-40 per cent of students can not get a grade 4 or above in GCSE English and maths. Against the backdrop of rising unemployment, the number of students who may return to further education to continue English and maths study is set to increase significantly. However, more than one in three GCSE English and maths resit students make 'negative progress' which results in a significant number of young people over 18 without these qualifications. In addition to this group, many migrants and refugees who held qualifications from their home countries also struggle to get into their desired jobs due to lack of Language skills and proof of equivalency in GCSE English and Maths. Research has shown that many young people and adults may have become disengaged from and have negative attitudes towards learning English and Maths in particular, often through negative prior experiences, peer pressure or lack of support. The cancellation of GCSE exams due to Covid 19 pandemic also made it difficult for those who registered as external candidates. Exam centres did not provide evidence if they had not taken lessons or Mock exams prior to the lockdown in March 2020.
Our project is aiming to support all unemployed for this reason to achieve the best outcome they can. We will provide training for 30 unemployed. We will group them with specific needs, and they will either study English targeting minimum level 2 and Functional Skills or GCSE English and Maths in their respective groups. The training will be 4 hours a week over 20 weeks. We will offer blended teaching in our Enfield and Walthamstow Study Centres and online. The lessons will be delivered by our qualified teachers. In addition, we will offer a mentoring programme, and interventions to avoid low attendance, drop-offs, and low attainment. We will guide them to take the exams as external candidates in an exam centre that we will have an agreement with. The project will cover the cost of tuition, resources, and exams as well. The project will end with 2 weeks of employability skills workshops such as CV writing and applying for jobs. For those who achieved their targets, we aim to find apprenticeship placements. If they need further training, we will make connections with training providers.