The Greater Ipswich Youth Guarantee: MyGo
In October 2013, the Government signed a City Deal with the Greater Ipswich region to empower the area to make the most of its economic assets and opportunities, create thousands of new apprenticeships and give employers more say in how money is spent on skills. The Deal’s flagship commitment was an ambitious pilot programme to tackle youth unemployment; the ‘Youth Guarantee’ now known as the ‘MyGo’ Service.
The MyGo Service is a national first and if successful will provide a blueprint for future integrated employment services. It aims to ensure that all young people – whether they claimants to benefits or not – in Ipswich and the surrounding area can access the support they need to get into work, education or training and progress their careers.
MyGo is commissioned by Suffolk County Council and delivered by PeoplePlus.
Since 10th November 2014 when MyGo first opened its doors we have registered over 6,000 young people and over 2,500 have gone into a progression.
At the heart of MyGo is a coaching service which supports young people to tackle barriers impacting on their work-readiness and to achieve progress towards employment. The level of support each young person receives is determined by an assessment of their circumstances and needs, each with more intensive one-to-one support provided to young people most at risk of long-term unemployment. The functions of Jobcentre Plus are embedded within MyGo and delivered by their staff in an integrated manner with the Coaching Service. All staff working on the programme and within the MyGo Centre and more rural satellite Centres operate under the MyGo brand. We also have a European Social funded pot of money that allows us to provide the same MyGo service out in the field in more rural areas of Greater Ipswich. We have a field-based team that have a caseload and meet in various different locations suitable to our young person’s circumstance, an example is JobCentre, Providers, Local Cafes or Libraries etc.
An example of the assessment would see a customer already in employment or education accessing the services on more of a self-help basis; this is what is known as a universal customer. Those not in employment, education or training would be assessed into a high, medium or low category which evidences the intensity of support they receive.
For those in a high, medium or low category, coaches are assigned to young people who remain with them throughout their journey to work however short or long that journey might be. Following an initial assessment, the caseworker and young person agree a Work and Career Plan setting out a pathway into work which draws on existing local employment and skills provision, but also places an onus on the young person to take control and make appropriate progress.
Once a positive outcome has been achieved the caseworker keeps ‘in touch’ with a young person for the first 28 days and then our Monitoring Officer provides any necessary support for up to 6 months. This includes supporting the employer with any barriers associated with taking on the young person in question.