Connexions, a service for young people aged 13-19 in England, was one of the prime examples of “joined up thinking”: it brought together six government departments and their agencies and organisations, together with the private and voluntary sector. In targeting all young people in that age range it would assist young people whose problems vary from homeless, substance abuse and teenage pregnancy to those needing the right careers advice for A level options or university places. It will offer career and personal counselling, advice on health, lifestyle and financial support, as well as information on matters like volunteering, sports, arts and community service.

The intention of Connexions was to unite under one organisational umbrella all services that support and help young people and to offer a route through them. In additional to more traditional methods it is also using new technology to reach and help young people through Connexions Direct. This will be a telephone and internet service, currently being piloted in the north east.

Young people are also involved in the service through, among other things, designing programmes, sitting on staff recruitment panels, vetting business plans and serving on Connexions boards.

The service has created a new type of worker – the personal adviser. This person will not only offer advice and guidance and help identify barriers and ways of overcoming them but will act as the young person’s guide and advocate through the various agencies, including specialist ones like housing, which can help. They will work in a range of settings – schools, colleges, and community centres among others – and be drawn from a range of background and experience. They will include existing professionals wanting to change jobs, new recruits willing to re-train, and people who have been working in the voluntary sector or in the community.

Connexions has now been taken within local government and its national presence is a website and a team of advisers who can be contacted. There are no details of any central office or phone contact details.

Other UK equivalents: Careers Wales

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