Depaul UK

Drive Ahead

Depaul UK's national training and skills project "Drive Ahead" is designed specifically to meet the needs of homeless and neglected young people in crisis who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). The "Drive Ahead" projects run programmes which are clearly structured and designed to develop our clients' employability, maturity, numeracy, literacy, IT and budgeting skills as well as their self confidence and self esteem. Course participants are incentivised by the opportunity to learn to drive and take the driving test as they progress through the programme.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 3:03 PM, 4 July 2011 to 3:03 PM, 4 July 2011


Registered Charity in England and Wales (802384)




  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Homeless/RefugeHomeless/Refuge
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy


  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



The Office of National Statistics notes that the number of young people aged 16-24 who are not in education, employment or training is approximately 1.2 million.The link between NEET’s and homelessness is strong, and the cost to individuals, families and communities is great. For the majority of young people in this position, these are wasted and frustrating years that all too often lead to anti-social and criminal behaviour, relationship and health problems, homelessness and drug use. The wider impact in the community is significant. In 2002 the Home Office estimated the annual financial cost to the UK taxpayer of NEET young people at £3.65 billion a year, or an average of £97,000 each year. Being NEET affects future earnings and employment. A young person who is NEET will earn substantially less over his or her lifetime. Lower earnings when employed, combined with a greater chance of unemployment, mean that being NEET significantly impacts on the overall earning capacity of an individual. It has been calculated that someone who was NEET as a young person will have earned approximately £51,000 less by age 33 than someone who did not experience NEET status. Although "Drive Ahead" is primarily designed to support young homeless people back into education or into training and employment the programme also addresses health and emotional issues which impact negatively on the lives of our service users. By addressing these issues together with this vulnerable client group's lack of self-confidence, lack of awareness surrounding health and hygiene, anger management and general communication skills we underpin the practical numeracy, literacy, IT and general employability skills acquired during the programme. This wide-ranging educational framework plays a great part not only in helping the young people obtain jobs and training places but, crucially, also in holding on to them. For this reason we have extensive targets and performance management criteria concerning health (mental and physical); debt; tenancies; drug awareness and (where necessary) intervention; alcohol awareness and (where necessary) intervention. It is important to appreciate that addressing these issues as part of the skills and training programmes ensure that the young people we support are able to sustain their employment, training and education. Our target is to train 320 young people each year across projects in London, Birmingham and Newcastle with 75% moving on into sustained placements in education, vocational training or jobs. We have reached this target in each of the 10 years this programme has run. New Philanthropy Capital in its October 2009 report "Getting Back on Track" has described our success rate as a "significant acheivement" when considering the difficulties faced by our clients. To acheive these targets costs £758.00 per individual including staff costs, premises, course materials and driving lessons. This is a very cost-effective programme especially when set against the real cost to the community of at least £97000 of each young person not in education, employment or training.