College programme to help young people in poverty generates £6million impact for future generations

A programme designed to help young people break the cycle of poverty has been hailed a success after it was estimated to have had a £6 million impact on the community.

The Find Your Future programme has supported disengaged young people to redesign their futures and break the poverty cycle through strategic partnerships with the public and third sectors.

The project, supported by funding from the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Fund and the Northwood Trust, was designed to allow individuals from some of the most deprived areas in Scotland to build their confidence, gain qualifications, become more employable and enhance their life chances.

Through a series of targeted support in our communities and collaborative 12 to 14-week courses, more than 400 young people were nurtured and trained towards careers in care, hospitality, the land-based sector and the digital industries. Those completing the programme were further supported by a 12-month programme of mentoring and support.

The aim was to engage young people who were previously socially and economically inactive in positive experiences within these key areas for growth in the local economy.

Katie Baxter, Learner and Community Engagement Manager, said: “The Find Your Future programme not only transformed the lives of hundreds of young people and made a major contribution to our local communities but also laid the foundation for future generations to thrive through the College Community Collaborative and Dundee and Angus College.

“It is fantastic to see young people really engaging in activity which is going to lead them down the route of employment and finding their place in society.”

A report on the contribution of Dundee and Angus College to the Wellbeing Economy found that the Find Your Future programme generated £6million of social capital for the region, based on the UK Treasury measure. For an initial four-year investment of £691,000, the report found that the value generated was worth £6,004,700 in improved opportunities and benefits for the region.

A legacy of the programme is the vital partnership between Dundee and Angus College and more than 30 organisations from the public and third sectors through the creation of the College Community Collaborative. This has laid the groundwork for sustained support and new pathways into education and employment for students.

Simon Hewitt, Principal of Dundee and Angus College, said: “We are proud of the tangible results achieved by the Find Your Future project, from enabling young people to progress into education and employment to fostering collaborative partnerships to support our community’s most vulnerable. The programme underscores our commitment to addressing equally, the social and economic challenges within our region by engaging with our communities and delivering high-quality skills that lead to employment and better life chances.”

The report into the contribution made by Dundee and Angus College to the wellbeing economy of the region also highlighted that student leavers could have an earnings premium of £20 - £32million each year. When a wider definition of human capital is taken into account including social value not picked up in traditional earnings data, the estimated total contribution of the college is as high as £58million per year.

The report into the impact of Dundee and Angus College in 2023 was carried out by Biggar Economics and published this year.