Excellence in Cycling

Go Smarter Ways into Work Career Travel Project

The Go Smarter Career Travel Project worked with secondary school students to provide travel experiences to businesses, colleges and training providers. The aim was for students to gain an insight into the world of work and how they might travel to work in the future. Students had the opportunity to visit a variety of workplace settings to broaden travel horizons and raise aspirations, pupils unlikely to travel actively were often targeted. Schools were allocated up to £3000 to purchase, bikes, equipment and coordinator time and were expected to deliver as a minimum: Six career travel experiences Journey planning sessions Student pre/post perception surveys Visits including travel, would usually be half a day, with students planning the trip, cycling to the venue and engaging with staff to discuss the type of jobs and opportunities available to them. Each week students would travel further afield as they became more confident and able to cycle greater distances.

Local Authority contact details

Tracy Aitken, Travel Plan Advisor, Northumberland County Council, tracy.aitken@northumberland.gov.uk

Who was involved & what was their role?

The Go Smarter team managed the project across the North East Combined Authority region and dealt with allocating funding to schools and monitoring of the projects, local authority schools officers recruited schools and workplaces and external cycle training providers, Bike4Health and Watbike delivered the project in schools with help from school staff.

Details of cost budget, sources of funding

Schools were allocated up to £3000 from the Go Smarter Ways into Work project, part of the NECA Go Smarter programme and schools were encouraged to match fund ‘in kind’ through the provision of school staff to support the delivery of activities. Two further Northumberland schools applied for match funding from the same programme, each contributing a minimum of 50% of the cost of their projects.

How was it developed?

The Career Travel project developed from the Northumberland CC LSTF project, which had targeted secondary school students to broaden their travel horizons in readiness for employment, training or further education. One of our secondary schools wanted to use cycling as a way to engage with a group of year 10 and 11 girls, so we brought together elements of the ‘Bike Train’ model ie adults cycling to their places of work, to develop a project where students could experience travelling to places of employment or training. The project capitalised on existing links with businesses and through the Go Smarter programme the project was extended with pilots being made available across the NECA area. Students gained experience of travelling outside their usual area and planning their own journeys, so encouraging independent travel. Many of the schools targeted a specific student demographic as they were often in areas of high levels of worklessness and low educational attainment.

What was the outcome, including information on future plans - one-off, on-going, develop further?

Career Travel Projects were delivered in 8 schools across the NECA Region, with schools, students and parents showing great enthusiasm for the project. No further funding is currently available from the Go Smarter programme, but we are exploring ways the project can continue, with schools encouraged to deliver and fund it independently, with LA support. Any businesses involved in the programme might also be interested in funding future project activity. Schools could deliver the scheme in house using staff time, or by funding an external coordinator. To equip schools with the skills to deliver and also add extra value to the project we have delivered complementary training programmes to up-skill school staff, including cycle maintenance courses and ride leader training sessions, with more of these planned for the future. This is a project we have great hopes for and we are exploring ways that it can be extended to further promote cycling in these schools and their communities.

How does this initiative or project meet the criteria?

This project meets the criteria of the Excellence in Cycling category as it delivered a cycling project to groups of students who were either not cycling regularly or engaged with groups of students not likely to take up cycling of their own accord. The project was aimed at promoting cycling in secondary schools and especially typically hard to reach groups such as older girls. The project took the students from novices to cycling greater and greater distances and instilling in them the confidence to be able to plan their own journeys and maintain their bikes, these are life skills which will benefit them into their adult lives. The students also formed a great friendship bond and in some schools older pupils were included in the groups to act as peer mentors, students also promoted and raised the profile of cycling within their school communities and families and friend groups.

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