Functional skills for NEET project

Functional Skills for NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) Project (London based Programme due to funding restrictions)

Just 5 hours per week could change a young person’s future.

Photo by Surface

Quick facts

Age range: 15-25 years.

Criteria: must not be in employment, education, and training. Must have a good level of English.

Time commitment: 5 hours per week for 24 weeks at times that suit the young person (approximately 6 months but flexible).

Equipment: The project is free for young people with some technology and resources provided.

What is it?

Participants are matched with a professional online tutor. All of our tutors are trained and DBS checked. Participants study maths and English and work towards Functional Skills exams (all coordinated by ODET). Students log on to our easy-to-use online platform. 10 hours of Career guidance and employability skills is offered to each student as part of the programme. This programme is also an alternative to custody model and can be part of sentence planning.

Support offered?

Yes! Our Education Officer will provide support from start to finish.


This programme assists young people from disadvantaged and marginalised communities to unlock their potential. We work with various agencies to help support these young people.

One of our target groups is young people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities because research tells us that these groups are more likely to be not in education, employment or training at 16 years of age. This puts them at higher risk of entering the criminal justice system. We have developed a programme to equip young people with the skills they need for further training or to enter the job market.

This programme assists young people to gain Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths. These qualifications are needed for most employment, educational and apprenticeship prospects. In 2018, 19% of pupils from Irish Traveller backgrounds and 13% from Gypsy and Roma backgrounds attained GCSEs in English and Maths at grade 4/C or above, compared to 64% of pupils nationally. Gypsy and Traveller pupils also have a high rate of school exclusions and report high levels of bullying and racial abuse. (House of Commons Research Briefing available here


I didn’t enjoy school before - but I really enjoy the NEET Program and wish I could have lessons every day. When I started, I was looking to get a job, but now I’m thinking about going to University and applying for an Access Course.

Functional Skills for NEET student – 19 years old – Roma – dropped out of school in 2018

This project has given my young person a chance to take accountability for his education and ownership of his future. I am so grateful for this opportunity and pleased with his progress.

Referring youth justice worker – Functional Skills for NEET

I would like to further my education skills and I want to be a role model to my children.

Functional Skills for NEET participant– 25 years old – Irish Traveller – last in education 2005

Case study

My name is Melis. I’m 16 years old and live in Wigan. I left school after a few months in Year 7 and have done a small amount of home schooling ever since. I have always enjoyed learning but haven’t always had access to resources to help me do this.

When I started the ODET Project, I hadn’t been doing much schoolwork due to the Covid-19 situation but had started at a girl’s group for young Travellers and had been doing some school work there.

I was nervous to start the ODET programme, as I didn’t really know what to expect and hadn’t done any formal learning for a long time but my tutor, Christian, put me at ease quickly and I soon got used to logging on for my session each day.

I found that with one-to-one learning, I could go at my own pace and this meant I learned a lot faster than in school and felt much more comfortable with asking questions than I would in a group. As someone who struggles within groups of people, I felt this really helped me concentrate on my learning and I could get much more done. I feel like I have caught up on all the work in English and Maths that I have missed from not being in school. My tutor was friendly and helpful and always made sure I understood his lessons.

As well as catching up on missed learning, I feel that the project has helped me gain confidence to build on my learning and go further. I am now studying for GCSE Maths and English and have received a conditional offer to study A Levels in Psychology, Sociology and Film Studies at a local sixth form college. I don’t think this would have been possible to achieve this year without having been involved on the project.

I would definitely recommend this project to any young person who is struggling to find their way in their education or to decide what to do next. As well as learning and gaining exam qualifications it really can open doors for you!

Mum’s comments:

I think the project was very good for Melis. It encouraged her and has helped her gain the confidence she lost through a negative secondary school experience and enabled her to go forward to college - as well as giving her the learning she needs to take the next step. Her tutor, Christian, was lovely – he was always on time and never let Melis down. He explained things in ways that helped her understand the work. I truly believe that if she hadn’t studied on this project then she wouldn’t have been able to go on to college so soon.

Get involved

If you would like to talk about this project with us, please contact or phone 07842 311 701.

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