Asylum seekers in Neet group

23rd February 2007 at 00:00
While schools, colleges, the Scottish Executive and others struggle to limit numbers of young people falling into the Neet (not in education, employment or training) group, there is one section of young people who have no choice.

Under Home Office regulations, asylum seekers leaving school are barred from work, undertaking training and any student-funding awards, making it almost impossible for them to go to university. "This group is not counted in the Neet figures, but effectively that is what they are," says Maria Walker, education co-ordinator of the Glasgow Asylum Seekers Support Project, part of Glasgow City Council.

"Unlike others in the Neet group, their only option is further education.J The Scottish Funding Council provides funding to FE colleges which allows them to waive fees for asylum seekers undertaking part-time courses up to HND level."

Some of Scotland's asylum seekers, who are concentrated in the Glasgow area, have held the same status for up to five years as the appeal processes grind along.

Since 2006, Glasgow City Council has been working with Careers Scotland on a project targeted on developing services and support for all asylum seekers leaving secondary education.

Christina Allon, director of Careers Scotland, says: "Although their post-school choices are limited, we are committed to working with them and their families. We want to ensure that they maximise their potential regardless of where they live in the future."

The most recent development is an information DVD, partly funded by Action for Training and Learning for Asylum Seekers Partnership in Glasgow, but conceived, written and filmed by a group of Glasgow asylum seekers.

While most of the 2,700 asylum seekers under the age of 18 reside in Glasgow, there are small numbers based in other local authorities, so the new DVD will be available through all Careers Scotland offices. It will also be accompanied by an information pack.

For more information, contact Anne Pearson, Careers Scotland, T 0141 4186711

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