Second Chance Young people NEET's Project


Stopping off at Westbury Farm studios in Milton Keynes on a visit to a recycling centre and newly built Eco homes in Oxley Park


This was a sustainable development and green awareness youth programme based in Newham, designed to engage 25 unemployed people (19-22 years) not in education, employment or training. The main objectives were 1) to increase awareness of sustainable development; 2) realise the need to better manage human and physical resources and 3) to provide information on new careers opportunities in the green industries. Participants were also made aware that the implementation of UK climate change legislation meant that new knowledge and skills would be required in developing green industries to make the transition to a low carbon economy. The programme was intended to increase participants’ knowledge of sustainable development and to provide information, support and guidance on possible routes to education, training and employment in the emerging green sectors. Examples of which include, working in the built environment, the energy efficiency supply chain, the renewable energy industries and green social enterprises.

 Participants were given support and encouraged to consider the options of establishing green businesses and work towards becoming social entrepreneurs. In addition to exposure to the green industries, young people acquired a better understanding of how sustainable development can be used as a management tool to promote personal and environmental responsibility to bring about change. For example, participant’s learnt that sustainable development as a concept can be used to prioritise our needs as opposed to wants, to re-evaluate our consumptions patterns and consumerist lifestyles and to better manage our energy resources more efficiently in order to increase disposal income. Young people learnt that working out their individual and collective ecological out and carbon footprint could be used as a practical tool to reduce consumption and wastage to bring us  in line within One Planet living .Other community sustainable measures included the need to recycle more, the importance of planting more trees, the need to share skills and resources (the sharing economy), the importance of greening the work place and reducing wastage –all measures designed to make the planet more sustainable and reduce the impact of climate change.


Towards the completion of the programme, group learning in the areas of personal, social and environmental responsibility was greatly advanced as participants decided to adopt and implement individual personal action plans to promote positive behaviour and life style changes and lead through example. The action plan would be used as a tool to encourage family, friends, and peers to adopt a model of sustainable development based not on the endless cycle of growth and consumption but aimed at managing human and physical resources more effectively to adapt to  climate change andsecure longer term protection of the planet and its resources now and for future generations.

The target group was recruited by working in partnership with various agencies. We had access to the Connexions shop and its clients, we recruited through the voluntary sector forum, grass roots organisations, Newham Youth services and Social Housing. We promoted the project at the local Job Centre Plus. The recruitment was by far the most challenging part of the project. Through consistent agency visits, street and detached work advertising,
promotion and networking, we started to get a cohort of regular attendees at our open recruitment days and had other young people turn up through referrals and ‘word of mouth.’ We eventually managed to get our target number of 25 participants as stipulated in our funding proposal.

 Participants came from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds some with and some without any qualifications, work experience or training. Initially, the majority of young people had unrealistic expectations of securing employment after  completing the programme. Once we conducted the individual personal development assessments, they realised the need to work on themselves to increase their confidence and self esteem and spend time in addressing basic time management issues, issues of discipline and structure and learning how to respect and behave with one other.


Skillls Presentation workshop Princes' Trust Champion and Mentor

Our personal development programme which ran alongside our sustainable development programme was therefore aimed to increase participants’ soft skills, such as confidence, motivation, their interpersonal and social skills .Participants were able to take stock and reflect on their progress and learning through one to one and group feedback and feedback by members of staff and volunteers. For example, group members increased their confidence and communications skills by delivering presentations to the class receiving  constructive feedback. Career advice and counselling was also provided. There was clear evidence of participants’ ability to develop more self confidence, self- esteem and increased motivation as the programme progressed captured through the project’s on-going monitoring and evaluation. Participants commended the design of the programme which combined sustainable development (‘the bigger picture’) with personal development sessions were intentionally complementary to each other, with the integrating of soft skills into their personal development portfolio to change behaviour and to make the transition to low carbon life styles.


  1. Knowledge transfer

The workshops ran at Durning Hall and Forest Gate Youth Centre, two easily accessible venues in Newham. Participants were given an overview of sustainable development and the threats and opportunities presented by climate change. Staff members  imparted information about a range of green industries which included the renewable industries (wind turbines, solar energy), electric cars, the built environment, all low carbon design and energy efficiency systems. We invited training providers who ran workshops on eco-Fashion/marketing /promotion, ethical trade and social enterprises to encourage and motivate young people to think about developing their own green social enterprises and businesses.

  1. Educational visits

We organised visits to Milton Keynes to a large recycling facility and to see some energy efficient and low costs eco homes. We visited the Science Museum to see the exhibition on climate change and to BEDZED one of the largest eco housing development and One Planet Living project in Sutton, Surrey .A visit to the Nissan leaf showroom in Romford and a ride in the Nissan electric car sparked off a great deal of interest in zero emissions cars and their development in the UK.

We also visited a renewable energy company in Hertfordshire called Renewable Energy Systems (RES) where participants’ learnt about different ways of generating energy, boiler mass heating, solar energy and ground heat sources and did a couple of practical exercises on generating solar energy using small scale replicas and models.

Renewable Energy Systems (RES) in Hertfordshire

Talk on RES products and services Demonstration of blade section of wind energy system Demonstration of model railway powered by solar energy


3. Personal Development

We identified several issues presented by participants. These included the lack of motivation, self confidence, self esteem, lack of career advice and guidance, personal development and social skills. We addressed these issues through a series of personal development workshops, one to one and group work. We empowered participants to develop presentation, group work and interview skills by supporting them to present pieces of work to the class, by enabling group discussions and also working in groups on specified tasks. Participants were also given space to review how transferable skills can be put to use when considering different career options.
Young people were given responsibility to work in teams using an action-research task  by conducting surveys on sustainable development with local people. The group were required to work out their ecological and carbon footprint and to present their findings to the class.


Climate science - Visit to Science Museum Unltd Social Enterprise Speaker



1) Personal Development Action goals increased participant’s motivation, confidence and self-esteem .Participants learnt to work in teams and developed a range of social, communication and technical skills.

2) Young people were given exposure to green industries, green social enterprises and allied skills sectors .Out of a group of 25, 1 young person got a jobs in telesales and one in security work as a result of increased confidence. 2 progressed to obtaining training in radio broadcasting and the music industry, 3 have gone back into further education. 2 participants are interested in setting up a green social enterprise and applying for funds through Unltd (a national social enterprise agency. I person is undertaking an apprenticeship  in the motor vehicle industry.


Processing and Recycling waste in Milton Keynes Eco-homes in Milton Keynes

3) Participants were supported in the planning and identifying education and training routes to future green industries, training colleges and volunteer work placements.

4) Participants were given opportunities to take up part-time employment in the third  sector.

5) Young people were provided with certificates of participation to acknowledge their learning and progression.The organisation had procured 25 free tickets from G4S too visit the Para-Olympics which brought a great end to the programme

 We had two volunteers who had an interest in sustainability and its relevance to climate change. They took an active part in the workshops and the visits. They also assisted the main workshop leaders in supervision at the two centres, with facilitating workshops and undertaking detached and outreach work. One volunteer has moved on to access further training in community dance and the other has obtained full-time employment in a charity. One member of our part-time staff who was unemployed is in the process of establishing an eco fashion social enterprise.

Members of staff and volunteer Social Entrepreneur and staff members.


Building on the success of the LDA/GLE employability green skills programme and this one, we are now embarking on an employer engagement strategy to provide young people with opportunities to gain voluntary work placements in the green industry and we are looking for partners to scale up our programme. We are also working towards becoming an accredited Centre to provide NCFE level 1 qualification in sustainable development.

We would like to thank the Evening Standard and Big Lottery for funding the programme, Newham Connexions Managers at Stratford and East Ham for access and referrals and young people who took part. We also like to thank Forest Gate Learning Zone Co-ordinator for use of their premises .Thanks are also due to voluntary agencies, tutors, social entrepreneurs and employers who have helped us deliver this innovative programme.


Visit to a Nissan leaf electric car showroom Trip to BEDZED - One Planet living low carbon housing development


S. Miranda/J. Joanes/Sust4Youth/20 Oct/2012