A brief history of shmuTRAIN

In 2008, shmu became one of the 24 organisations accross the country that make up the portfolio of the Inspiring Scotland '14:19 Fund'. The fund aims to significantly reduce the number of young people in Scotland between the ages of 14 and 19 who have not been able to make a successful transition between school and further education, training or work by investing in coordinated delivery of targeted work by a portfolio of voluntary organisations across Scotland. 

With a projected investment of just over PS1 million over a ten year period from Inspiring Scotland, supplemented by an annual grant of approximately PS35,000 from the Fairer Scotland Fund, shmu launched the shmuTRAIN initiative. The Initiative offers two programmes of work; Early Interventions, for those in school who are identified as being in high risk of not securing a positive destination on leaving school; and Positive Transitions which delivers a 12-week training course supporting 16-19 year olds to overcome their barriers, develop core skills, identify opportunities and progress to a positive destination of either employment, education or training.

Early Interventions

Our Early Interventions programmes targets and engages young people aged 14 - 16 within school who exhibit early identifiers such as learning difficulties, lower literacy and numeracy skills, lack of confidence, and intermittent attendance, which indicate an increased risk of not entering into further/higher education, training or employment after leaving school. The programme currently works within 3 schools delivering a 6-month intervention project to support participants in S4 towards a positive destination on leaving school.

The Early Intervention programme encourages re-engagement by participants with education by providing motivating and appealing opportunities to build on their interests and challenge themselves. The course has evidenced that when key dimensions of education such as literacy and numeracy are delivered through a meaningful and exciting medium, such as community and digital media, there will also be improvements in achievement and attainment across other subjects.

This programme is a key element of the shmuTRAIN initiative as it is the means to move away from the reactive, needs led, chaotic services, 'picking up the pieces' for those who fail to find meaning and relevance in the educational opportunities put before them.

A new development for Early Interventions is our City Campus programme which focuses on Winter leavers across the city and operates out of the Belmont Cinema in the city centre. This 14-week programme is an intensive and targeted project for young people who have been identified as not having or going onto a positive destination at the end of their school term.

The City Campus programme encompasses a range of introductory community media modules which have been developed by shmu, with a strong focus on employability skills. Media training is used to engage and motivate participants as well as developing their core skills. This course is underpinned by employability training to increase the chances of the young people moving on to employment, education or training.

During the period 2009-2012 the Early Interventions programme has worked with 80 participants, with 66 of the participants moving on to a positive destination - a success rate 82.5%.  Specifically for the periods (i) 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012; the Early Interventions Programme has supported 37 participants resulting in 27 moving on to positive destinations (73% success rate).

Positive Transitions

Positive Transition participants take part in weekly employability sessions where they work on CV writing, interview, presentation and job search skills. Throughout the course issues such as attendance & timekeeping, confidence, communication skills, personal presentation and appropriate language and behaviour are monitored and addressed. The aim is to have young people "job ready" so that they can sustain employment within the labour market following completion of the course.

During the period 2009-2012 the shmuTRAIN programme has delivered 12 Positive Transitions courses for 16-19 year olds, working with 91 participants in total. 66 of there participants have moved on to a positive destination resulting in a success rate 72.53%.

Specifically for the periods (i)1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012; the Positive Transitions Programme has supported 39 participants resulting in 27 moving on to a positive destinations (69% success rate) and for (ii)1 April 2012 to 31 December 2012 we have supported 23 participants resulting in 15 moving on to positive (65% success rate).

The shmuTRAIN courses have continued to evolve over the last four years, informed and improved through a well-established and structured evaluation framework, which has the service user at its core, but which also consults with family members, staff, partner organisation's and referring agencies in order to continue to ensure that the service that is delivered is of the highest possible standard.

For more information about Early Interventions and Positive Transitions programmes contact the shmuTRAIN co-ordinator.

Brian Webb

e.mail: brian@shmu.org.uk

phone: 01224 515013