Young people – Britain’s greatest asset – but HOW can we maximise their potential?
This was the challenge set by Learning and Work Institute at the 2016 Youth Employment Convention. It was an engaging and energetic day, full of lively debate, passionate inputs, up to date national policy and innovative local approaches.
The Convention was opened by Robert Halfon, the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills. The Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to 3 million apprenticeships, but he also really focussed on the need for 3 million QUALITY apprenticeships, that can enable every young person - particularly the most disadvantaged - to overcome the barriers they face in building the careers they deserve. The Minister’s speech really set the tone for the day and was reinforced by Festival of Learning award winner Emily Hicks. Emily spoke openly about growing up being the main carer for her mum, who is bi-polar, alongside the challenge of being dyslexic. At times this was really difficult – but personalised support, determination and hard work enabled her to succeed and get the break she needed to build a successful career.
Throughout the day panellists from Barclays, AoC, JRF, Kings College and Chambers of Commerce, to name but a few, were constantly challenged by shadow panels of young people about the issues that really matter to them. This created dialogue and a focus on solutions. It also shaped the Learning and Work Institute’s pledge, as outlined by L&W’s Chief Executive Stephen Evans:
- No decision about me without me. We will advocate for young people to be involved in the design of services aimed at them and in the support, education and services they receive directly.
- Work experience. We will argue for high quality work experience at all key points in education and elsewhere.
- Apprenticeships. We want to see world class Apprenticeships that are flexible and accessible to all young people that would benefit from them.
- Clear transitions. We will work to ensure that young people get seamless, holistic support through transitions between education and employment, including through implementation of the Skills Plan
- Our Work. Our work and recommendations will be informed by the views of young people, and our events will provide a voice for young people.
The pledge provides a clear framework for L&W’s work. It’s a legacy that we’ll be taking forward and building upon during the next 12 months. Most importantly, we really look forward to building on the contribution of all the young people whose voices were crucial in shaping the Convention, and others whose views and experiences will be crucial in shaping the agenda and ensuring that we, and the wider sector, deliver on our commitment.
Read Fran Parry's blog about the Youth Employment Convention