4.3 Strategy for the social inclusion of young people
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LAST MODIFIED ON: 12/09/2020 - 16:08
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Existence of a National Strategy on social inclusion
There is no single strategy for the social inclusion of young people in Wales. However, there are a number of strategies which alongside other areas promote social inclusion.
- Youth Engagement and Progression Framework (2013)
- Child Poverty Strategy for Wales (2015)
- Strategy Equality Plan and Equality Objectives 2016-2020 (2016)
- Taking Wales Forward 2016-2021 (2016)
- Prosperity for All – a national strategy (2017)
- Education in Wales: Our national mission - Action Plan 2017-21 (2017)
- Youth Work Strategy for Wales (2019)
Each is described below.
Scope and contents
Youth Engagement and Progression Framework
Published by the Welsh Government in 2013, the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework lists actions in six areas most relevant to increasing youth engagement and progression, thereby lessening the number of young people (aged 11 to 25) who are not in education, employment or training (NEET):
- identifying young people who are most at risk of becoming disengaged
- improving the organisation and coordination of support
- improving the tracking of young people throughout education and support systems
- ensuring that the available support meets the needs of young people
- improving the skills and opportunities for employment
- strengthening the accountability systems linked to youth engagement.
The framework also establishes the right to a lead worker for individuals who are most at risk of disengaging and, through the 'Youth Guarantee', ensures that every young person has appropriate access to learning beyond the age of 16.
Local authorities (LAs) play a central role in the framework's implementation: they are expected to work closely with partners both in the public and private sectors to ensure that individuals at risk of becoming NEET, or individuals who are already NEET, are identified and given appropriate support.
A number of short, medium and long-term indicators were identified in order to analyse the framework's success and, since its launch, two evaluations of the work carried out by LAs and their partners have been carried out. These included interviews with national stakeholders and key members of staff in LAs, a survey of partners working with LAs across Wales and a case study of one approach to implementing the framework. A number of noteworthy challenges in successfully implementing the framework and recommendations for the Welsh Government and LAs to take forward were included at the end of each evaluation.
Child Poverty Strategy
Published by the Welsh Government in 2015 in response to the Children and Families (Wales) Measure (2010), the strategy's overall aim is to eradicate child poverty by 2020 alongside five other objectives:
- reducing the number of families living in workless households
- increase the skills of parents and young people living in low-income households
- reduce the inequalities which exist in health, education and economic outcomes of children and families
- create a strong economy and labour market which reduces poverty and in-work poverty
- supporting households to increase their household income and address the poverty premium.
The strategy draws attention to the need for collaborative working between the Welsh Government and partners from the public and private sectors, in order for their targets to be met.
The strategy also lists 11 indicators to be used in measuring progress in reducing child poverty. The Welsh Government reported on these indicators as part of their Programme for Government 2011-15, and as part of their annual report on the Tackling Poverty Action Plan 2012-2016, which also includes a number of other indicators relating to poverty and the general population in Wales.
The Government has not published a new Poverty Strategy or Action Plan, tackling poverty and promoting equality is now under the remit of the National Strategy, Prosperity for All (see ‘Scope and contents’ under the article on ‘Strategy for the social inclusion of young people’), and other related Programmes and Action Plans that advance the goals set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
Strategy Equality Plan and Equality Objectives 2016-2020
Published by the Welsh Government in 2016, the Strategic Equality Plan and Equality Objectives 2016-2020, replaces itspredecessor, Strategic Equality Plan and Objectives 2012-2016. The key aim of the plan is to ‘mainstream equality and diversity’, promote inclusion, and address the inequality Welsh people are experiencing, as reported in the Is Wales Fairer? report.
It outlines the Equality Objectives for 2016 to 2020, which will inform the Government's plans of future policies, funding streams and legislation from the period 2016 to 2020, to promote equality and inclusion. It builds on the previous Plan and Equality Objectives, and has introduced two new additional Objectives, 7 and 8, to reflect the issues raised in the consultation and engagement phase in. Its Equality Objectives are:
- to ensure the rights, needs and contributions of people with protected characteristics are recognised in the delivery of public services (including health, mental health, education, housing services) to address barriers preventing independent living;
- to promote and provide advice, information and advocacy services to enable people with protected characteristics to understand and exercise their rights;
- to identify and reduce the causes pay and employment differences (related to gender, ethnicity, age, and disability), to close the attainment gaps in education, and tackle the number of young people who are NEET (not in education, employment or training);
- to reduce all forms of harassment, violence and abuse against (but not limited to) women, disabled people, and ethnic minorities;
- to diversify the pool of decision makers in the public, civil, and political realm in order to increase representation and better inform policy making,
- to strengthen community cohesion within and between communities across Wales and increase awareness and understanding of protected groups (which includes, asylum seekers and refugees)
- to reduce poverty, improve living conditions, reduce homelessness
- to make the Welsh Civil Service to be an exemplar in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda by 2020.
The plan sits alongside the Government’s programme, Taking Wales Forward (more information can be found below), and is designed to contribute towards the ambitions outlined in the programme and the plan is designed to contribute to those goals and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (see ‘Main concepts’ under article on ‘General context’ for more information).
Any updates on the plan can be found on the Welsh Government website.
Taking Wales Forward 2016-2021
Taking Wales Forward, published in 2016 by the Welsh Government, outlines the Government’s key commitments and priorities for the period 2016 to 2021. It’s ambition is to ‘make a difference for everyone, at every stage in their lives’ in order to create a ‘more confident, more equal, better skilled and more resilient’ Wales. The Programme outlines four key themes and its strategy:
- Prosperous and Secure,
- Healthy and Active
- Ambitious and Learning
- United and Connected.
Under each theme, the Government makes commitments to young people, and provisions that affect young people, and builds on their commitment to implement policies and actions that will maximise the well-being and lives of Welsh citizens (see the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015; more information can be found above). Highlights of the Programme that relate to young people include:
- The Government’s commitment to education; believing education is a key mechanism to achieving better life chances for young people, the Government outline provisions to provide better education and schools which will improve conditions for children and young people. This, in turn, will help contribute towards closing the attainment gap between the poorest pupils and their counterparts and tackle the long-term cycle of disadvantage and inequality.
- Programmes and initiatives to develop skills and offer experiences to young people to ensure they do not become NEET.
- Early intervention in early years and schools to promote healthy lifestyles and choices to children and young people.
- The Government strengthening their widening access work with universities to encourage young people from low-socioeconomic backgrounds and looked-after children to pursue higher education.
Prosperity for All: national strategy
Taking Wales Forward informed the Government’s Prosperity for All national strategy, published in 2017. It outlines how the Government seeks to deliver its commitments stated in the Taking Wales Forward Programme. The Strategy distinguishes five priority areas which require investment and improvement to create long-term change to Welsh prosperity and well-being:
- early years,
- social care,
- mental health,
- and skills.
The strategy prioritises children and young people, so they can realise and fulfil their potential and achieve better life outcomes of living ‘healthy and prosperous lives’. It outlines provisions which will support young people, this includes:
- tackling poverty and inequality;
- supporting young people overcome barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential;
- reducing the variation gaps between higher and lower performing schools;
- providing career advice to help young people to reduce youth unemployment;
- to promote entrepreneurship in school, college and university leavers;
- increase maintenance grants to support Welsh higher education students;
- deliver 100,000 all-age apprenticeships;
- and designing a new curriculum in schools to focus on children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health.
Education in Wales: Our National Mission - Action Plan 2017-21
Published in 2017, the Education in Wales Action Plan, covers the period 2017 to 2021. It outlines how the Welsh school system will be changing due to the implementation of a new curriculum. The Action Plan’s aim is to create an education system that will:
- promote access to education;
- reduce the attainment gap between different groups of children and young people;
- provide young people with skills to equip them
- and support young people to realise and fulfil their potential.
The Action Plan outlines four enabling objectives that will shape the new curriculum and its subsequent reforms:
- develop a high-quality education profession,
- inspirational pleaders working collaboratively to raise standards,
- strong and inclusive schools committed to youth excellence, equity and well-being,
- robust assessment, evaluation and accountability arrangements to create a self-improving system.
To achieve these objectives, the Government’s action plan till 2021, includes:
- expanding the Pupil Development Grant,
- delivering a new curriculum which will produce higher standards of literacy and numeracy and digital competency,
- developing summer-learning programmes,
- providing young people with careers advice service and guidance;
- developing provisions to provide more support for pupils with Additional Learning Needs and reducing class sizes to improve teaching.
The National Youth Work Strategy for Wales
Published by the Welsh Government in 2019, the National Youth Work Strategy, emphasises that Youth work in Wales is based on the voluntary engagement of young people as empowered partners. It starts at whatever point young people are in their lives, recognises and seeks to develop and realise their potential, and is committed to equality
- Young people are thriving
- Youth work is accessible and inclusive
- Voluntary and paid professional youth work staff are supported throughout their careers to improve their practice
- Youth work is valued and understood
- A sustainable model for youth work delivery and inclusion.
With specific relevance to Aim 2, the strategy sets out the following aims:
- create safe spaces that all young people can voluntarily choose to access – these safe spaces may be physical (in a club or centre, on the street, at leisure facilities, as part of outreach), virtual (over the phone, digital) or emotional (by establishing welcoming, understanding, young person-informed cultures)
- be visible to both young people and their families, so they know where to go for support, and to other service areas, so they know how to access support and advice on working with young people
- be planned, delivered and reviewed by a unified sector (united by common ground, with shared values and agreed ways of working) through a partnership approach (with each other and with young people) that makes best use of the available skills, knowledge, expertise and resources
- offer a sufficient level of planned and ad hoc opportunities for social, emotional, personal and language development for all young people
- be responsive to changing circumstances, appropriate, and accessible to all young people aged 11 to 25.
See the section on ‘Governance’.
The Child Poverty Strategy (2015) is an update of the Welsh Government's Child Poverty Strategy for Wales, which was published in 2011 and covered the period 2011-14. The 2015 strategy reiterated the same objectives as its predecessor and renewed the target of eradicating child poverty by 2020. The Government has not published a new Poverty Strategy or Action Plan, tackling poverty and promoting equality is now under the remit of the National Strategy, Prosperity for All (see ‘Scope and contents’ under the article on ‘Strategy for the social inclusion of young people’), and other related Programmes and Action Plans that advance the goals set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
The Welsh Government’s Programme, Taking Wales Forward covers the period 2016 to 2021. The Programme and its accompanying national strategy, Prosperity for All, plans outlines four key delivery areas. The Final Budget 2018 to 2019 has allocated funding in 2019 to 2020 to support the priorities outlined in Prosperity for All, although specific use of the funding has not been announced. The areas include the economy, skills and employability, education, housing and other services.