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Helping young mums overcome barriers to learning


Young parents with few qualifications can find themselves at risk of isolation and long-term unemployment. It is therefore essential to offer them the necessary support to improve their skills and overcome barriers to finding a job.

This is where the award-winning Young Mums Will Achieve (YMWA) project in Cornwall in the UK steps in. Established in 2009 to support young parents to engage in education, employment or training, the project offers closely targeted, tailored learning opportunities and intensive personal support to participants.

Teenage pregnancy CoordinatorAlexa Gainsbury notes, “Learners have benefited from gaining qualifications and have also demonstrated marked improvements in transferable skills such as self-esteem, confidence, team-working and job-search capabilities.  The high percentage of achievement and retention on the programme by the young parents has shown that this project is highly successful.”

Cornwall Council works with a team of partners who bring a diverse range of perspectives to the project. Since it was established, the number of young parents engaged in education, employment and training in Cornwall has increased from below 20 % in 2009 to 34 % in July 2012.  The achievements of YMWA were recognised in November 2010 when it won the National ESF Equal Opportunities Mainstreaming Leader Award.


Project name: Young Mums Will Achieve (YMWA)
Area of activity: Education and training
Project duration: November 2009 – July 2011
ESF contribution: £ 133 875
Total budget:  
Participants: 145
Country: United Kingdom
Organisation: Cornwall Council
Contact details: Alexa Gainsbury
Teenage pregnancy Coordinator
Young Mums Will Achieve