Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Achieving Against the odds

Cities for Active Inclusion  held a conference about employment for Young People on  the 5th of October.

Two of the young People, that Connexions Birmingham have helped,  delivered a presentation form their point of view about what worked and what didn’t. They ( Nathaliea and Letitia) stole the show with their honesty, humour and directness.
There were a lot of delegates from all over the country and from public, private and third sector -- all with a stake in improving employability and employment opportunities for young people. In that respect it was quite tough, but I think we gave a good account of what we do and how we do it.

  • Key points from the young people:
  • They benefit from professionals who 'stay around'  - ie sustained and consistent service.
  •  They need more opportunities to do work experience.
  • They need to feel its ok try things out - ie don't be afraid to fail.
  • Young people should be encouraged to create their own opportunities - ie be innovative (the Princes Trust is a key player in facilitating this)
  •  The apprenticeship minimum wage is not a living wage if you live independently ( my 'in-work calculation' slide  was a triumph! )
  •  The job centre and current benefit system does not enable young people to better themselves or get out of the benefit system.
  •  Lack of internet access is a real problem for many YPs from vulnerable groups.
  • YPs want more opportunities to find out about different types of work and see what's out there.
  • YPs have a lot of good skills in communication, leadership and team work (social networking and the recent riots were given as examples) . These skills need to  be acknowledged and channelled into EET opportunities.

A recurring theme that came out through out the day was a general feeling that institutions, organisations and agencies are not moving quickly enough to change: 'Act, think, behave differently' .   This is why the problems with youth unemployment and under achievement (particularly with vulnerable groups) does not go away. It was suggested by a delegate that if practitioners and service users had a part in the decision making things might change more quickly.

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