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FRI: Never Say No! (Pat Shearer)

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patrick shearer
14 January 2019

Title: Never Ever Say No!  - College Clearing House Inclusion Project


Patrick Shearer

West College Scotland


Abstract: The Scottish Government Social Inclusion strategy aims to create a more successful country by increasing sustainable economic growth. It regards young people as key to future economic success and made commitments to them in their Opportunities for All strategy by pledging to: ‘offer a place in learning or training to every 16-19 year old who is not currently in employment, education or training’. West College Scotland (WCS) has been tasked with supporting this strategy by supporting efforts to eradicate one particular problem in the Region, that of young people who are defined as ‘not in education, employment or training’. The topic is of particular personal interest because I am a programme leader at WCS.


Instead of making a positive contribution to reductions in NEET figures, it has recently become apparent that recruitment processes at WCS may, inadvertently, be having a negative effect on them. Most of the Faculties use screening and/or interviews to recruit, leading to hundreds of rejection statements being sent to applicants.  Alarmingly the vast majority of these ‘unsuccessfuls’ fall into the NEET category. As well as this, these rejected applicants are not being referred to other youth support agencies, and perhaps worse still, not even referred to other potentially suitable programmes within the College itself.  But perhaps most concerning of all is the fact that the College is presently failing to meet its overall recruitment targets.


This project is asking: What specifically happens to applicants who are being rejected? The problem seems to be that there is no strategic networking taking place between departments and between external stakeholder agencies. Some programme leaders regard their ‘rejection’ decision to be their final responsibility in the application process. However, if an applicant was applying to Higher Education and was unsuccessful they would at least have an option of gaining an alternative place via a clearing system. The aim is, therefore, to develop a College Clearing House System that would forever eradicate negative rejection outcomes.  This will, in turn, provide an inclusive service to young people by providing them with additional and enhanced options and opportunities, as well as supporting overall efforts to reduce NEET figures in the region. The plan is to disseminate project findings via social networking and training days.


With this in mind, the Conference presentation will focus on the application process, application form itself.  It will include 3 short activities:

  1. Welcome and Introduction Video: this activity will provide background and context of the project and historical context of NEET, so that delegates will be able to understand its relationship with Inclusion.
  2. Presentation: this activity will briefly explain present College recruitment procedures so that the delegates can take part in the third activity. 

Interactive Recruitment activity: this activity will involve delegates in part of the actual recruitment process used by the College so that they can get an idea of the significance of making an application decision.

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