Young parents article picTarget Group: Teenage parents in Devon

Geographical Reach: Devon

Project Duration: 2014 – 2015

Project Funder: Devon County Council

Project Manager: Tracy Hill 

Project Aim

Teenage parents are continuously represented disproportionately in the NEET group. Whilst having very different aspirations and learning needs, teenage parents have much in common as they take on their new role looking after a child. Learners often do particularly well when they are able to come together with other teenage parents for mutual support. Childcare can be a problem and participation is improved where this is available on-site whilst the learning is taking place.

The aim of this project was to progress young parents (both males and females) on to further learning, Apprenticeships, Traineeships or jobs with training. A key feature was the projects ability to work in partnership with other agencies such as children’s centres, midwifery services and other relevant referral groups.


Superact delivered an innovative and motivational 12 week programme of support to teenage parents in three areas of Devon – Exeter and Teignmouth. To be based around the SEPE course, the activity was to be supplemented with relevant help and advice from agencies working in the field.

The course was delivered weekly for four hours – providing a minimum of 36 hours contact time required for SEPE accreditation, along with the additional 14 hours of self-guided learning required from the participants. The courses were staggered over the year from January – December 2014 and run twice in Exeter and then Teignmouth.

The SEPE BTEC qualification provides tangible skills to those who feel disempowered and uninspired to stay in education or join the workforce. The qualification is designed to help learners to gain and retain a job or re-engage into education, through the development of the soft skills that employers and that a commitment to education is looking for: adaptability, a can do attitude and objectivity about strengths and weaknesses.

The qualification results in 5 learning credits which can then be supplemented by any other BTEC course to add to the value of the qualification, whether that is delivered in a formal education setting or through on the job training.

We delivered SEPE with arts based activity to include music, graffiti, storytelling and textile recycling sessions. Evidence has shown that a well delivered arts project will develop participants’ reflective learning, their overall personal skills, and their ability to manage relationships, their communication skills, concentration on tasks, enthusiasm, motivation, self-esteem and employability. There are no exams for participants; rather evidence of attainment is gathered by the practitioners running the course and resulting in a learner portfolio which generates the evidence required by Edexcel.

Impact on the young people

We are proud to announce that the girls from our Teignmouth and Exeter young parents groups have successfully completed our SEPE (Supporting employability and personal effectiveness) training.

The girls were introduced to recycling of textiles, knitting, ceramics, graffiti and paper craft and they have created some beautiful end products, all with their little ones balancing on their knees!!

The group were keen to have their children with them throughout, and the babies loved it and “helped out” the whole time. This amazing group of women have become a good team and their confidence has grown week on week and they are now thinking about their next steps as the babies become more independent from them. Thoughts are on HE to work towards midwifery, self-employment and mentoring training to support other young parents.

The Teignmouth group have focussed on an outside graffiti project at their children’s centre and have made a splendid job of the shed with a beautiful nursery rhyme theme. This group will continue to meet at the children’s centre and their plans include returning to hairdressing at college, catering and hospitality training and one of our girls has already gone back to college and is working towards HE for midwifery. We are now working with South Devon College to help these girls make the step as smoothly as possible.

Superact has worked in several locations across Devon, but these two groups have stayed strong and are determined to keep meeting and to support each other and new young parents. We will be continuing to offer these groups creative activities until the end of March 2015, but there are conversations underway to enable new funding for work with young parents – such a wonderful group who just need a little space and thinking time using creative engagement!

For more information on the project please download our full impact report here or contact Project Manager Tracy Hill for more information.