Keep in touch: create a platform to coordinate the activities of the main stakeholders working in the field of early leaving in your area.
Why is this approach useful?
When a young person drops out of a VET programme, it is possible that s/he has moved to study in another institution, or that s/he left education and training altogether. It is important to clarify the situation of the young person as early as possible in order to be able to offer him/her adequate support, if needed. For this it first needs to be clear which organisation is responsible for reaching out to the young person who has dropped out.
The following questions should be answered for VET providers:
- Which organisation should we inform if we have not been able to contact and reach out to a young person who has dropped out?
Why is it a quick win?
Establishing a procedure to determine which organisation is responsible for contacting and reaching out to individuals can be done at a relatively low cost. For instance, at local or regional level this issue can be addressed by creating a platform to coordinate the main stakeholders in the field of early leaving, and facilitate a dialogue to decide who needs to contact an individual in each case.
It is also possible to designate a unique service that centralises the information on early leavers and reaches out to them directly.
How to make this approach successful?
This approach is successful if:
- The list of young people who are potentially early leavers from education and training is periodically updated and reviewed.
- The time elapsed between drop-out and the moment young people are contacted is as short as possible.
- The organisation which makes contact with the young person has as much information as possible about their situation in order to take the most appropriate approach to working with them.
- The first point of contact is a ‘friendly face’, aiming to work with the young person to address the cause of early leaving as well as helping him/her to return to education/ training.
Examples of measures using this approach
In Luxembourg, regional offices of the Local Action for Youth (Action Locale pour les Jeunes, ALJ) systematically contact young people identified as early leavers from education and training, based on the listings (fichiers eleves) provided monthly by the National Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.
The ALJ makes direct contact with early leavers in order to establish their current activity/status (in terms of employment, education or training) and survey them on their reasons for dropping out. It provides them with guidance to support their reintegration into the education and training system or the labour market. Participation in this guidance process is voluntary and lasts as long as needed to ensure the young person has found a definitive solution.
The platforms for monitoring and support of early leavers (Plates-formes de suivi et d'appui aux décrocheurs, PSAD) are coordination structures gathering all the local-level stakeholders in a particular territory responsible for supporting early leavers. This includes education and training providers, guidance centres and associations promoting the social inclusion of youth.
The national government sends the different stakeholders a list of early leavers present on the territory. The list is revised in order to identify individuals who are not yet receiving support from any of the platform’s stakeholders, who then work together to find an optimal solution for those identified. Coordination can be done through the official technical meetings of the platform or amongst the partners via informal channels.
Beyond formal involvement, there is a need to secure stakeholder buy-in. The success of the coordination depends on inter-personal relationships. The continuous dedication of the management team helps to secure stakeholder buy-in over time – once the individual platform members get to know each other and start cooperating on an ongoing basis beyond the formal meetings.