New skills and employment Service launched to empower NEET young people and economically inactive adults across Suffolk

30 May 2024

Engineer training

Suffolk councils are excited to launch Thrive: Suffolk Skills and Employment Service, a new initiative designed to provide targeted support and opportunities for NEET (not in education, employment, or training) young people and adults across Suffolk who would benefit from support.

This innovative programme is funded by the district councils who have combined their grant allocations from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to deliver this bespoke service. The fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

The Thrive programme is a partnership led by Suffolk New College, with West Suffolk College, East Coast College, Inspire Suffolk, Lofty Heights, Anglia Care Trust and Access Community Trust.

The programme aims to deliver a high-quality support service that addresses the complex needs of Suffolk's residents. By offering a highly localised and responsive approach, Thrive is dedicated to helping individuals navigate their unique challenges and access the full spectrum of education, training, and employment opportunities available within the county.

Thrive will offer a two-tier support system designed to meet the specific needs of both young people and adults. The programme begins with a common triage and initial engagement process, ensuring that each participant receives tailored guidance from the outset. From there, individuals can access two linked support pathways, each providing robust and continuous assistance towards their employment and education goals.

The collaboration between the three major colleges in Suffolk and the voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) sector ensures that participants benefit from a wealth of expertise and resources. This partnership is poised to secure positive onward pathways into work, further education, and training, combining outstanding support with proven success in facilitating long-term, positive outcomes.

The project is funding three progression coach roles across the whole project for the college. They will work out of all campuses as well as community and partner locations across Suffolk.

Thrive: Suffolk Skills and Employment Service will launch on the 11 June 2024, more information and referral forms can be found at: Suffolk New College - Thrive: Suffolk Skills and Employment Service.

The initial contract for the Thrive programme is set for one year, with the potential for extension to a second year pending additional government funding.

Cllr Indy Wijenayaka, Cabinet Member for Growth at West Suffolk Council, said: "We are thrilled to partner with the district councils to develop Thrive. This programme is a crucial step in empowering residents and supporting sustainable growth across Suffolk, offering the support and opportunities needed to transition individuals from unemployment to meaningful careers and educational pathways, of which I believe we have some unique opportunities in West Suffolk. Together, we aim to create thriving communities with lasting positive change for NEET young people and economically inactive adults across Suffolk."

Cllr Derek Davis, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Babergh District Council, said: “The Thrive service represents an innovative and proactive solution for young people and economically inactive adults in our communities.

“Thrive will give people the chance they deserve to develop themselves professionally and I would encourage anyone who thinks they might benefit from the service to get involved.”

Cllr Toby Hammond, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Transport at East Suffolk, said: “The Thrive programme is a great example of local authorities working together, and alongside partner organisations, to deliver projects which support skills training to boost employment opportunities and life chances – one of the key aims of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. 

“It allows us to provide a bespoke journey of support for sometimes hard-to-reach people, giving them the chance to overcome barriers, secure a pathway into employment, and take control of their futures.”

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesperson said: “Ipswich Borough Council is committed to enabling individuals to access the support they need for education and employment. Through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, we are participating in a county-wide initiative that provides opportunities and aids the transition from unemployment to education and career development for NEET young people and economically inactive adults across Suffolk. Thrive not only creates immediate opportunities but also contributions to long-term economic growth.”

Cllr Teresa Davis, Cabinet Member for Thriving Towns and Rural Communities at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “We are proud to partner with our neighbouring councils and organisations in Suffolk to deliver this exciting new service to our communities.

“We know that everyone’s journey is unique, so by providing a system tailored to those who need it, we hope to enable people to carve out their own paths.”

Cllr Richard Smith MVO, Suffolk County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Economic Development and Skills, said: “Suffolk County Council is pleased to support the borough and district councils on this collaborative approach to supporting people and skills. This is an important project that will help provide clear connections and pathways between available initiatives to support Suffolk residents into employment or to progress in work.”

Alan Pease, Principal and CEO of Suffolk New College, said: “We are incredibly excited to be leading the Thrive project and are looking forward to working with a brilliant set of partners who share our passion for ensuring everyone in Suffolk gets the chance to achieve their potential.

“We are passionate about supporting people of all ages to achieve positive outcomes so this project is very close to our hearts.” 

Thrive funding partner logos

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