Ambassador: Sophie Maxwell , United Kingdom
Sophie Maxwell founded the Really NEET College in March 2011, for young people aged 16-24, who had dropped out of the traditional school system, to offer them a learning environment that suits them. She herself had successfully beaten her previous NEET status and overcome homelessness aged 17. She went on to study at Norton College and then Sheffield Hallam to graduate in Leisure Events Management in 2009.
Sophie created a college in Sheffield for other young people who didn’t want or couldn’t attend mainstream college for a variety of reasons. Many of the young people attending her college today have no education, are homeless, on probation, young parents, basically young people that have for one reason or another struggled and dropped out. The college teaches Social Entrepreneurship, Maths, English and Art in a safe environment that leaves them inspired and full of energy and passion for life. Sophie and her team also provide these young people with the practical and emotional support to get them back into school and finish their education. The aim is to turn young disadvantaged people into young entrepreneurs.
In 6 years Sophie and her team worked with over 500 disadvantaged young people. 70 young people a year are reintroduced into education, 28 young people gain employment and 30 young people receive help to find housing.
The Really NEET Project has three colleges helping young people in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. In 2017 a new course will be open to 40 young people in Sheffield, 50% of whom are in sheltered accommodation.