Meet the team of Executive Directors
Laura-Jane Rawlings – Founder & CEO of Youth Employment UK
Before launching Youth Employment UK CIC, Laura-Jane worked for many years in the recruitment sector. As a recruiter, Laura-Jane was well placed to see the challenges facing young people leaving education and the issues of the employment community. Spending time to better understand the structural issues of youth unemployment and the policy around the area, Laura-Jane founded Youth Employment UK in 2012.
Laura-Jane is a passionate campaigner for youth employment and the rights for all young people to access employment and have their voices heard on the issues that affect them. Laura-Jane believes that it is for all of us to create a youth friendly society so that young people can fulfil their potential.
Recognised as a leading youth employment expert Laura-Jane provides support, insight and expertise to many groups such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education and Youth Employment, the Education and Skills Sub Committee and sits on the steering group for the Cabinet Office Inclusive Economy Partnership for Youth Employment. She also sits on two ESF National Sub-Committees: Employment, Skills and Social Inclusion and Equality and Diversity.
Laura-Jane has worked on consultative projects with organisations such as the Cambridge Local Authority, Northamptonshire Learning Partnership, Chilled Food Association, OCR, Plotr, PiXL, and the National Citizen Service.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller. This is how Laura-Jane feels about youth unemployment. Her belief is that only a joined-up approach working with everyone invested in youth unemployment (especially young people) will have a chance of really tackling youth unemployment.
Stewart has worked in the funded work based learning sector for over 20 years and has supported Association of Education and Learning Providers since its formation. Stewart worked as an independent consultant within the training sector, working with a number of training providers and colleges specialising in business development and funding issues. Coming from a background in HR and general management in the private sector, Stewart joined the Hertfordshire Training and Enterprise Council in 1994 as Chief Executive. He went on to join Spring Skills as Chief Executive in 1998. Spring Skills was then the largest independent training provider in the sector and involved in the delivery of a range of programmes in service sectors including retail, customer services, hospitality and business administration.
With three decades of experience spanning the public and private sectors as an employee in large organisations, in small consultancies and now an independent job and career coach, David directs his talents and energy towards helping people of all ages become more employable. He brings his experience of working with organisations to help bridge the gap between young people and employers.
Blogger on lifelong learning, author of Learning to Leap, a guide to being more employable, and co-author of global hit 21st Century Internships: How to Get a Job Before Graduation. David has contributed to the BBC on leadership, Forbes magazine on careers issues and is in the Guardian newspaper’s top 10 Twitter list on careers advice. He is the founder of online school Career Navigating for Young Professionals and a member of the Institute of Employability Professionals.
Bob Hartley is a highly confident, enthusiastic and thorough Operational Interim with many years’ experience up to Director level in the food, FMCG and chemical allied industries. He has a sustained record of achievement in customer service, good manufacturing practice, coaching and improving staff motivation. Bob has been a supporter of Youth Employment UK since its inception and in 2016 become a Non-Executive Director. Bob brings a wide range of skills to the Exec team including operational and process improvement, strategic development and people development.
Meet the Operations Team
Lauren Mistry – Operations Director
Lauren has worked in HR, Recruitment and Careers Services since leaving University in 2008 where she studied Business Management. Lauren is passionate about ensuring that young people have the support and services that they need to progress.
Lauren oversees the operations of Youth Employment UK as well as the content management, ensuring that the information shared with young people meets their needs. Lauren has led the redesign of the Youth Employment UK site and manages the extensive content plan, campaigns and messaging. Lauren has an exceptional understanding of the audiences Youth Employment UK serve.
Lauren has led key research projects as part of her role, exploring employability skills in our 2017 literature review, supporting on the Role of the Family in Social Mobility report published in 2018 and leads on our Youth Voice Census. Most recently Lauren has joined the IEP West Midlands Pilot project to lend her support and expertise to this important piece of work.
Laura Gibbon – Partnership Director
Laura is an experienced partnership and communications leader, with a real passion for supporting all young people to progress. Having worked in the education and policy space for a number of years Laura moved into a key role with the National Citizens Service, supporting the development and growth of the organisation at a key time.
Laura was a passionate supporter of Youth Employment UK and its aims prior to joining in 2018, and now leads our strategic partnerships and relationships at a key time of growth for us.
Meet the Youth Ambassador Board
Patrick Cantellow, Chair of the Youth Board
Patrick Cantellow is an award winning Entrepreneur and social Ambassador. He started a Community Interest Company aged 16 and has worked with some of the UK’s biggest non-profits and campaigns. Patrick calls himself a “Constructive Moaner” for apprenticeships and social action, which is why he is chair of Youth Employment UK’s Youth Board. Having completed a Level 3 and 4 apprenticeship, and currently completing his Level 6, Patrick is a champion for workplace learning.
Deuvaunn Darroux, Policy Officer
Hi, I’m Deuvaunn! As a young person I have seen and experienced the inequalities when it comes to youth employment. I believe that it is up to young people to fight for better opportunities alongside the adults.
I have always been a passionate believer in the needs of young people, especially with regards to opportunities for employment and education. Shirley Chisholm was quoted as saying, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” This resonates with me every time I set out to work on a project, or even just attend an event or meeting that directly affects young people like myself. That very quote is my guide as I advocate for better opportunities for young people.
I aim to be a leading light for my peers as we push for better opportunities and I am immensely honoured to have been appointed as the Policy Officer for the Youth Employment UK Ambassador Board.
Sam Gillion, Activity Officer
I have been a speaker and activist for young people for the last four years and have taken part in events on behalf of organisations I never thought I’d ever be able to join. I have been involved with the LGA (Local Government Association) attending events in London with the Leader of the Opposition for Staffordshire. I have done work with Lichfield District Council where I worked with the Political Scrutiny Department. In addition, I have attended and taken part in the Staffordshire Youth Debates for the last two years which was broadcast live on the Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services website.
I work for a range of youth focused institutes such as Youth Employment UK, Youth Parliament (which I was a candidate for my local area) and the British Youth Council. All this has led me to be a gold ambassador for young people across Staffordshire where I network with several other schools in the area. I have also completed NCS (National Citizenship Service) and the Duke of Edinburgh award. All these experiences have led me to Youth Employment UK where I sit on the Ambassador Board as the Activity Officer. I work closely with the Chair and the Youth Employment UK team to maintain Ambassador Records, ensuring that all Ambassadors are contributing to Youth Employment UK, and making sure all ambassadors meet the minimum requirements, while also supporting those Ambassadors that need extra support to get involved.
Harvey Morton, Member
I’m Harvey! My journey into the world of entrepreneurship started in 2013, when I founded my own company, Harvey Morton Digital, while I was still at school. Between juggling GCSEs and A-Levels, I managed to forge a successful business and develop a fantastic reputation with clients throughout the UK and further afield. I have also picked up my fair share of accolades, too – including the IPSE Young Freelancer of the Year 2018.
Charity work has always been close to my heart. When I started my business, my teachers told me I’d never be able to get through a school enterprise competition I entered – but I was fortunate enough to have plenty of wonderful people cheering me on from the sidelines.
These days, I aim to be a cheerleader for others, and I’m thrilled to have been appointed as a Member of the Youth Employment UK Ambassador Board.