On the 13th of September, the Young Westminster Foundation held a workshop to gather information on the state of employability of young people around Westminster. Attendees included youth workers, young people, and YWF Trustees. Insight from the session will be used to shape the YWF Employability Pilot Project.
Together we brainstormed answers to questions around best practice, current provision in Westminster and how to improve the chances of the youth getting better job placements. This session was especially effective as we had ideas from a range of different perspectives, which is essential in acquiring realistic solutions to this issue.
Many things prevent people aged 16-25 to get into work and there is a lack of aspiration to move further with their careers. The main problem which we discussed was the lack of awareness around the breadth of opportunities available including getting apprenticeships and internships at a younger age. Young people need to be exposed to a range of opportunities at a young age to ensure they find fulfilling employment and develop appropriate skills as they get older. Furthermore, young people from diverse backgrounds feel under-represented in certain sectors. They feel uncomfortable working for a company where it doesn’t seem like there are other people like them, preventing them from applying for roles or training schemes.
Therefore, greater awareness is needed for young people whilst at school or in youth clubs. It is also important to present the long-term benefits of going into work and make sure that there are ways to advance from the position they are in. Young people also need support in developing confidence and professional skills to help their transition to employment.
The Young Westminster Foundation will develop the strategy for the Employment Pilot Project together with young people, youth clubs and Westminster businesses. It will be important to ensure the pilot is relevant to the future needs and skills of young people, share success stories and teach them to learn soft skills which can be in training or employment.