The problem

Even before Covid-19, 11% of all young people aged 16-24 in the UK were not in education, employment or training (NEET) between January – March this year.

Those from disadvantaged backgrounds are six times more likely to be recorded as not in education, training or employment after age 16.

Since lockdown began in March the number of young people not in education, employment or training has increased substantially. Within 15 weeks, 156,000 16-24 year olds became NEET due to the pandemic and economy.

“Our country faces an enormous challenge, a generation of young people that are not in education, employment or training. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged are most affected.”

Joanna Kempston
Founding Director

The solution

Inspired by the success of New York’s Publicolor scheme, Communicolour aims to prevent at-risk young people from falling NEET by engaging them in real work. The Covid pandemic has accelerated the need for this programme.

Communicolour will provide career training, accreditation, and key life skills for young people previously in SEMH Special Schools and/or excluded from school,

Young people taking part in the programme will use colour and design to transform grey public spaces into something extraordinary.  Communicolour will foster cohorts of tradespeople, SME business leaders and creatives who add substantial value to the economy and the public realm.

The programme offers a two-year accreditation pathway for all of its students, direct from school into post-16 skills and work-based learning. They’ll be given the opportunity to take part in every stage of the installation, working closely with professional artists and professionals to help rejuvenate neglected public spaces.

This accreditation will enable young people to develop a range of personal, key and employability skills, to broaden their experience and manage their learning in a variety of real-life contexts. It will teach them to understand, to take responsibility for and learn from rich activities, rather than simply to experience them.

Work in action

Communicolour will disrupt the cycle of disadvantage by harnessing the creativity and energy of these young people to drive investment, improvement and opportunity in their communities.  Communicolour will:

  • Reduce the percentage NEET from Year 11 Alternative/ PRU/ SEMH Special Schools
  • Provide employment pathways
  • Open doors for these young people into creative industries

The Communicolour revolution will begin in Yorkshire.

But the model is scalable and will successively roll out in other areas to support more young people across the UK.

Since launch, the reaction to Communicolour has been overwhelmingly positive, with the likes of B&Q pledging their support.

The Big Changers

Joanna Kempston, Founding Director

Communicolour Founding Director Joanna Kempston is an Associate Principal with the Wellspring Trust.

Joanna’s vision is that within five years, unloved and underinvested grey spaces around the entire country are being transformed through colour and design by young people on their way to bright and successful futures.