Researchers from the University’s Department of Education have published a short video outlining a framework of five interlinked mechanisms leading to a Pathway to Change framework to support young people to (re)engage with education or training.

Aimed at public, policy and practitioner audiences, it reports on findings from a 3.5-year European-funded study (Orienta4YEL) aiming to tackle ESL/NEEThood (Not in Employment Education or Training) in five countries: England, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Romania.

PhD graduate, Alison Douthwaite, alongside Ceri Brown, Nicola Savvides, and Ioannis Costas-Batlle, prepared the video to publicise their theory framework. This is further explored in a recently published paper in the International Journal of Adolescence and Youth.

The framework draws on data from interviews, surveys, and focus groups with 28 educators and 82 young people, across 11 settings in South West England.

Participating educators undertook a year-long training programme, designed and led by the University of Bath team. During this, they developed, trialled and evaluated intervention plans tailored to the different settings and cohorts of at-risk young people.

Interventions ranged from a ‘year-long supporting transitions group’ for learners at risk of failing to make a successful Post-16 transition, to a ‘careers language initiative’ giving refugee children the vocabulary and personalised pathways necessary to realise their career ambitions. The interventions made a significant impact on the learning, engagement and work aspirations of the young people involved.

The Pathway to Change framework built on findings from earlier phases of the study. A theoretical framework conceptualising the risks to ESL, also developed by the Bath team, formed the basis of the Practitioner training programme and was applied by the five international partners in the study. A paper in the Journal of Youth Studies (which is due to be published soon) presents the UK data from this phase and compares the views of young people with those of the educators who support them about the different risks to ESL and NEEThood. This framework is also presented as a video and in a Special Issue in the Journal of Education and Work.

These project outputs aim to contribute to the development of policy and practice in understanding and intervening on the issue of ESL and NEEThood.