Traveller Employment Excellence Programme

22 January 2020

Hertfordshire is reported in the 2011 census as being the third highest Traveller population in the Eastern region, home to some 53 Traveller sites with approximately 1300 Traveller children between 0 and 19 years of age. Around 35% of schools in Hertfordshire currently have Traveller pupils on roll. Set against this backdrop, we are pleased to be able to share news of an innovative and ground breaking targeted programme, supporting the young Traveller community in the county.

In 2018 a successful partnership bid was made to the Careers & Enterprise Company by YC Hertfordshire and the ISL Access to Education Team. Since January 2019, through working in close collaboration, YC Hertfordshire have delivered a Traveller Employment Excellence Programme aimed at the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) community in the county.

This 20-month programme is aimed at young people in years 8 to 11 from the GRT community to provide professional information, advice and careers guidance alongside work experience placements with one to one mentoring and further support, expected to last between six and twelve months.

The programme is designed around the young Traveller’s aspirations and attempts to address some of the cultural and practical barriers they may face. It has seen YC Hertfordshire, The Access to Education Team, Schools, Employers and the GRT community coming together to support their young people.

72 young people are now benefitting from a variety of support. These include extended work experiences, careers coaching, mentoring and employability skills. These experiences and interventions have improved their awareness of career pathways, the value of education and training for a career pathway, of employer expectations and employability characteristics; and are aimed at increasing their chances of moving into employment, education or training post 16.    

Overall the programme has been received very well – young people, parents and carers have been happy and excited about the programme and have so far, largely remained engaged. To date two have moved into employment and following the end of the programme in September 2020, we hope to be able to report further positive outcomes into employment, education and training.

The experience from this project will enable a wider support network for the GRT community and enable us to build upon the existing relationships within the community, with a better understanding of the needs of the young people and their families and helping them to overcome barriers into employment, education or training.