According to Statistics Canada, in 2019 in total just over 11% of youth in Canada are considered NEET (youth who are not in education, employment or training) (source). That’s over a million youth under the age of 29; and doesn’t take into account those who are struggling or in the process of disengaging.
Low-income youth, youth with parents with no PSE, rural and remote youth, Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities are across the country more likely to not complete high school and not enter PSE than their peers. In certain parts of Canada racialized youth are more likely to be streamed into vocational pathways, despite their academic abilities, and more likely to be suspended or expelled than their peers. According to research conducted in Ontario, this is especially true for racialized boys (source).
Additionally, Statistics Canada identifies 478 communities (source) in Canada considered low-income in the last census; also called “high need” neighbourhoods, these tend to be characterized by low-income levels and low educational achievement. Communities that have the highest need can also be disconnected, isolated and under-resourced in their attempts to support their disengaged youth.
The Catapult Canada Access Innovation Fund: Funding stream for innovations in supporting NEET youth, as informed by the Catapult mandate, offers grants to grassroots initiatives and non-profit organizations supporting youth who are underserved, disengaged or have dropped out of the education system.
Funding Stream Objectives
- Promote innovative and promising ideas in supporting NEET youth;
- Support organizations working on creative, practical and community-based initiatives to re-engage youth in their educational and career pathways;
- Support initiatives working on or advocating for early intervention;
- Promote equitable and accountable institutions and systems;
- Support initiatives that are informed by youth, families and communities; and,
- Develop a community of practice to support peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
Criteria for application
- For applications to the NEET Stream, requests must clearly describe their innovative idea for better supporting NEET youth, and must be to pilot an innovation with the objective of re-engaging youth in their educational or career pathways.
- Grants are available for a minimum of $25,000 for a 1-year project, and a maximum of up to $300,000 for a 3-year project.
- Applicants must indicate the budget request for the project along with the amount of in-kind contribution they anticipate. Proposals submitted as partnerships across multiple organizations or groups must clearly articulate how they will work together and the role each partner plays in the project.
- Applicants must clearly describe the activity or program already underway; the purpose of the project; why they are the right group to deliver the project; and the alignment with the Catapult mandate.
- Shortlisted Expressions of Interest will be invited to submit a more fulsome proposal, which may be developed in part with the Catapult team.