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Future Forward

Bridging the gap between young people and opportunities in employment, education, or training in West Yorkshire.






In partnership with grassroots organisations, Education Development Trust leads the Future Forward programme as part of West Yorkshire UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Through a blend of research and pilot programmes, the initiative aims to strengthen the support available to young people aged 16-24 not in education employment or training (NEET) across the region.

By highlighting best practices and testing innovative approaches, Future Forward is dedicated to improving opportunities for young people. Through working together, stakeholders are committed to creating a brighter future for young people in West Yorkshire.

The themes for these innovation pilots have been informed by evidence-based recommendations from the 2023 report published by Education Development Trust and the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) into: Barriers faced by 16-to-24-year-old NEETs and their experience of current provision.

 Through our partnerships and ongoing research, we are dedicated to enhancing youth support services in West Yorkshire by collaborating and adopting evidence-based best practices. This approach will enable us to provide a wide range of services tailored to the needs of young people who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET). Our offerings include mental health support, financial guidance, career guidance and tailored support designed to meet their diverse needs and overcome the challenges they encounter.

In addition, Future Forward aims to create a cohesive support network across the region.  We will build on the existing skills partnerships to engage Yorkshire-based businesses and offer meaningful work experience opportunities to empower young people looking to enter the world of work.

Get involved

We welcome any employers, partners and other external representatives based in West Yorkshire to get in touch with the Future Forward team.

Contact us

Pilot projects & partners

Leveraging in-depth assessments and partnerships with local authorities, we aim to tailor our wide range of support effectively to the needs of every young person. Please find the full list of pilot projects and partners as well as their areas of focus below.

EDT Work Experience

This pilot project, led by Education Development Trust, targets NEET young people aged 16 to 24 across West Yorkshire with little to no professional experience. Through tailored one-to-one assessments, participants can identify their career interests, skills and available local opportunities.

To build their confidence and employability, an integral part of this pilot is the chance for young people to connect with an employer for a meaningful work experience placement based on their interests. A detailed action plan helps participants set realistic goals and track their progress, build on their skills and review and reflect on the journey travelled.  

 EDT advisers provide additional support to participants through one-on-one sessions, a series of group workshops, and continuous guidance throughout their placements, which can last up to six weeks.

EDT logo
Building Healthy Futures

“Healthy body, healthy mind” is the motto for the Building Healthy Futures pilot led by the Inspirational Training Institute (ITI) and offered to participants in Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds. The project takes a holistic approach to physical and mental wellbeing to reach one’s true potential.

Participants are encouraged to take an active role in reaching their goals and make small changes to achieve a big and lasting impact on their lives.

The pilot allows young people to form and develop relationships with peers as well as providers of physical activity in their local area to raise motivation and career aspirations moving forward.ITI logo

Uplift – Mental Health Awareness Support

The Uplift pilot, delivered by Positive ECHO in Bradford, aims to raise awareness of the impact of mental health on young people’s wellbeing and tackle the stigma associated with people who struggle with their mental health.

Through the project, participants learn about different aspects of mental health and how they can build resilience as well as effective self-care routines. They are also encouraged to seek out guidance and information signposted by the team, should they wish to access additional support.

These activities, led by mental health experts, can help participants feel more prepared and confident when entering the workplace and provide new skills for their wellbeing toolkit.Positive ECHO logo

Aspire Horizons – Navigating Pathways To Success

Aspire Horizons offers interactive interventions to help young people with Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) navigate their pathways to success. Hosted by EASA in Bradford, the project engages participants in workshops, exploration as well as goal setting sessions and more to inspire and raise their career aspirations.

Tailored experiences with the pilot’s expert team enable young people to explore various careers, engage with local employers, develop new skills, search and apply for jobs, and take proactive steps towards achieving personal objectives.

Additionally, they gain access to valuable resources as well as mentoring opportunities and one-to-one support tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.

EASA logo

Money Buddies – Empowering Young People

Through Money Buddies in Leeds, this pilot develops young people’s understanding and skills regarding their personal finances. This involves tailored interventions to assess their benefits and apply for further financial support, manage household bills and explore banking options available.

The pilot aims to empower participants to take ownership of their finances and further their knowledge so they can make smart financial decisions moving forward into adulthood.

Further, the team of experts supports participants with sessions on taking out loans, self-employment as well as the dangers of loan sharks, gambling and cryptocurrencies.

Money Buddies logo

Fast Track to Success

Fast Track to Success, led by Blue Apple in the Leeds and Bradford area, takes a holistic approach to supporting young people as they enter adulthood. The pilot recognises the importance of factors such as healthy relationships, managing money and maintaining mental as well as physical wellbeing for the development of any young person.

Thus, our experts support participants in building their confidence in all these areas to enable them to enter the adult world with a strong sense of self, the ability to problem-solve and the motivation to build their resilience.

Also, upon completion of the pilot, participants will gain an Entry Level 3 qualification linked to Personal & Social Development (PSD).

Blue Apple logo

Information for employers

Our collaboration with employers in West Yorkshire is crucial for supporting participants of the above pilots into sustainable employment. We invite representatives of local businesses and organisations to join our employer network and take an active role in the development of a young person’s career.

We facilitate connections between businesses and potential young talent, offering tools and guidance to create beneficial work placements and employment opportunities.

To summarise, the benefits of employer involvement include:

    • Shaping and supporting opportunities for young people to thrive.
    • Inspiring young people to develop and grow.
    • Connecting with local talent.
    • Reaching your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targets by providing meaningful work placements.
    • Joining our network of local businesses and organisations wanting to make a difference.

To register your interest as an employer, fill in this form and tell us more about yourself.

Alternatively, get in touch with the Future Forward team by emailing



Future Forward is delivered by Education Development Trust and is part-funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). In West Yorkshire, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority leads the implementation of the Fund as part of the Mayor’s ambition to make West Yorkshire the best place to work, learn and live.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit:

Learn more about UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Learn more about West Yorkshire Shared Prosperity Fund

Get involved

We welcome any employers, partners and other external representatives based in West Yorkshire to get in touch with the Future Forward team.

We are also eager to connect with stakeholders from West Yorkshire and surrounding areas who are dedicated to supporting NEET young people and participate in this innovative research project. We aim to collaborate and share successful strategies to jointly tackle the challenges faced by those who are NEET and develop new ideas to inform future support.

To contact us and get involved, please email

Get involved in Future Forward