The Skill Mill's achievements were recognised in Vienna this week at the European 'Innovation in Politics Awards'. A Finalist in two categories: 'Jobs' and 'Prosperity', the Skill Mill in the UK and Estonia were commended for their provision of training and 'next step' jobs for ex-young offenders and for the resulting significant reduction in the rate of reoffending for those on the programme.
Finalist in 'Jobs'
The Skill Mill Newcastle
Chi Onwurah, MP
Training and employment: giving new perspectives to young ex-offenders
Newcastle is a city characterised by post-industrial and recession-induced pockets of poverty and deprivation. The unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds is 20.5% – usually young white males alienated from mainstream education and employment. To address the disadvantages faced by young ex-offenders, Newcastle City Council’s Youth Offending Team decided to establish The Skill Mill, a partnership which includes the Newcastle City Council and different public, private and non-governmental actors. The target group are young ex-offenders: 16–18 year olds with low skills and poor educational outcomes, with several custodial sentences. The Skill Mill provides employment in waterway clearance and land management. Every participant completes a City and Guild course in Land Based Operations and all successful trainees are offered a ‘next step’ job with one of The Skill Mill’s partners. An evaluation by the University of Northumbria found that participation in The Skill Mill resulted in a significant reduction in the number and seriousness of offences committed.
Finalist in 'Prosperity'
The Skill Mill Tallinn
Best practice: Tallinn adopts Newcastle’s successful Skill Mill model
Estonia faces the serious problem of a very high share of young people who are not employed or in education / training programmes (NEET youth). In 2016 the rate was 13.8%. Moreover, criminal activity of non-Estonians is on average 50-60% higher than that of Estonians. Most of them do not speak Estonian at all or not well, therefore they have fewer options on the job market and bigger socio-economic problems. In order to overcome the issue of NEET juvenile delinquency, Tallinn City explored ways to replicate the UK model of the Skill Mill. The Tallinn Skill Mill partnership includes city departments and different public, private and non-governmental actors. It is coordinated by an advisory board as in the UK. The target group are young ex-offenders: 18–24 years olds with low skills and poor educational outcomes, former NEETs with several custodial sentences, at the start of their employment. The programme provides employment in waterway clearance and land management. Successful trainees are offered a ‘next step’ job with a Skill Mill partner.
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