Empowering Enterprise

1st July 2017 - 31st December 2021
Building Better Opportunities Logo (National Lottery Community Fund & European Social Fund)

Empowering Enterprise supports young people aged 18-24 who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. This project equips them with skills for life and work, giving them the confidence to find a path to a brighter future. Managed by Petroc, Empowering Enterprise is delivered by a partnership of organisations with a wide range of expertise and experience in working with young people across the South West. This is a Building Better Opportunities (BBO) project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund. 

Throughout the past four years, a wealth of activities have been delivered. 657 young people have been supported, with 150 of them having accessed education or training and 161 having entered employment as a direct result of this provision. These statistics only begin to scratch the surface of the phenomenal impact that this project has had on participating young people and their communities.

We support the partnership by leading on the project’s:
  • Impact Measurement
  • Employer and Community Engagement Strategy

Most recently, DCT has produced the Empowering Enterprise Impact Report 2017-2020, which provides a detailed summary of the phenomenal impact that the partnership has delivered during the first phase of the project. Producing this report has enabled us to communicate areas of strength and areas for development to key organisations in the county and it is our hope that this work will serve, and offer insights to, the future activities of partnership organisations and wider stakeholders.

We have also delivered a range of activities to engage employers across Devon to engage with the work of the project, with a focus on increasingly inclusive workplaces across the county, and supporting employers to better understand their role in dismantling the barriers that young NEETs face.


Due to a project extension, the partnership is thrilled to be able to resume delivery and have since began to regroup and plan for 2021. We are delighted that, as Empowering Enterprise resumes and enters its second phase of delivery, the learnings from this work can be immediately implemented to further refine approaches used to support young people towards a positive future. The significance of the continuation of this work cannot be overstated, considering the Covid-19 pandemic and the substantial effects of lockdown on young people, employers and our wider communities. We also look forward to evaluating the impact of the evolving delivery which will build on existing experience and learnings, as well as respond to the new and volatile climate in which we find ourselves.

Furthermore, we’re excited to pick back up our inclusive employment strategy to build on our efforts from Phase 1. If you, or any of your contacts, are interested in making Devon a more inclusive place to work, please do get in touch.

To find out more about DCT's work on the Empowering Enterprise project around employer and community engagement or evaluation and co-design, please contact Harry.Bonnell@devoncommunities.org.uk.

If you are interested in referring young people onto the project or offering work placements please contact Petroc at empoweringenterprise@petroc.ac.uk 

More information on this project can be found on the project website: https://www.empoweringenterprise.org.uk/

Case study: A Taste of the Workplace

Biannual report july – December 2021

Devon Communities together produces a biannual evaluation of Empowering Enterprise and the report for July – December 2021 is now available.

Key findings

  • In total 49 participants went live in this period, and 27 achieved results (22 moved into employment; 5 moved into education or training).
  • In this period 25 (51%) participants were male, 22 (45%) Female and 2 (4%) otherwise identifying.
  • 26 out of 49 (53%) of participants who went live in this period report having a disability, and 20 out of 49 (41%) do not have Maths and/or English entry level qualifications.
  • In this period recruitment reached new areas, significantly Exeter, Barnstaple, and some rural areas.
  • 25 of the 49 live participants in this reporting period (and 67 of the 129 total live participants in 2021), have come from the local Jobcentre Plus (JCP) advisors.
  • Mentors have reported that the pandemic has continued to affect participants motivations and confidence to become involved with support services or pursue education. This is likely leading to participants being less willing to engage in group sessions, and needing project support for a longer overall period.
  • The main area of support signposted to by mentors (with 33% of reported signposting) continues to be for mental health services.
  • Co-design activities have indicated that activities around developing inclusive employment for young NEETs should focus on encouraging supportive inductions and first days on the job.
  • Partnership working continues to be a strength with evidence of partners supporting one another in delivery and cross-referring participants.
  • The Cross-Cutting Themes of Sustainability and Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities are embedded in partner delivery through the development of sustainability goals and mentoring practices.

The full report can be downloaded here.