Horniman Museum and Gardens, London

Beth Atkinson, 12.12.2014
Youth work placement scheme with Neets
The Horniman Museum and Garden’s work placement scheme engages with young people not in education, employment or training (Neets) from Lewisham in south London, who have been referred through job centres, and youth and social services.

Participants are supported during their three-week placements and maintain a close relationship afterwards. To date, 60% of participants have gone on to education, training or employment.

Many of the young people are vulnerable, hard-to-reach or have additional needs, and so require a great deal of support: 44% have below level 2 qualifications and 26% have additional needs.

One participant was referred onto our gardens placement in March after finishing a level 1 qualification. He has significant learning support needs and behavioural issues, which meant that he found it difficult to form relationships with peers.

Outside of a formal learning environment he did very well, quickly making friends with the team and getting into a working routine. His daily diary reveals how he developed his communication and confidence throughout the placement.

He has since become a regular member of the museum’s youth panel, meeting weekly with peers to plan and deliver public events. He recently worked at Night of Light – an evening for young people with live bands, dancing, cinema and photography that attracted more than 500 local young people.

It has been important for us to develop our own resilience as well as encouraging it in young people. Strong relationships with key workers and other referral partners have also helped us to signpost young people to further, more targeted, support.

I feel proud that our museum is supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in developing the skills and confidence to find work within a safe, supportive environment.

Beth Atkinson is the youth engagement and volunteering coordinator at the Horniman Museum