Finding Employment & Training : Youth Voice Forum

The Youth Voice Forum held its third meeting on Tuesday 13th April to explore how young people navigate finding employment and training. As a collective of young people connected to Youth Employment Group members – this group is an important part of giving young people a voice on policy decisions surrounding Covid-19.

This session was chaired by Charlotte Jeffreys (Princes Trust) and focused on how young people are accessing information, guidance and support around finding employment or training opportunities and explored some of the barriers being faced and what good looks like.

Richard Rigby (Princes Trust) co-chair of the Youth Employment Group gave an update on YEG activity, focusing on the recent one year anniversary of the YEG. Richard highlighted the impact Covid-19 has had on young people who are most disadvantaged. Richard noted that a key priority for the YEG is to improve the Kickstart scheme and provide better support for young people accessing the opportunity. 

We heard from Youth Employment UK’s non-executive director Patrick Cantellow who talked about his own journey starting at 16, where he began looking at apprenticeships and highlighted the stigma associated with apprenticeships. After attending a Youth Employment UK conference in 2015, his misconceptions were changed and he realised the vast variety of different types and sectors/industry of apprenticeship which were available which many young people are not aware of.

Youth Voice

The Youth discussion highlighted: 

  • Young people did not understand where to start looking for information, guidance and support. 
  • When support is offered and opportunities are given to young people, the level of support differs depending on the area you live. 
  • University is pushed more as a route than other pathways

We heard good examples from young people on how they could be better guided: 

  • Kickstart scheme needs to more inclusive
  • One central place for young people to go and access information, guidance and support that will link them to careers advice, more guidance on the different pathways or routes, opportunities available etc
  • A guide map of where to start
  • A directory of provisions per region 
  • Early support from school – employers talking about their roles and sectors, mock interviews that prepare young people, exposure to different industries and pathways
  • Employers need to be inclusive to young people, be clear on expectations, use youth friendly language in applications, fair methods of recruitment 

Quotes from Youth Participants

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Youth Voice Forum session and all the discussions that we had. It was insightful to hear the opinions and experiences of others so that we can continue to educate and petition for change. The conversation that particularly intrigued me was the ones regarding options for school leavers briefed to 16–19-year-olds varied across the country/location. The session fuelled me with passion to change the stigma regarding apprenticeships and other post education options.”

“The interaction was incredible, I loved hearing others opinions.” 

More about the Youth Voice Forum

The Youth Voice Forum (YVF) is chaired by four young people within the founding organisations. Organisations that retain YEG membership are welcome to invite young people to participate in the YVF.

The purpose of the YVF is to create a safe space for young people to come together and discuss the views, experiences & challenges that they face as a direct result of Covid-19. Here they also support the work that the YEG do and have an active voice in influencing policy. The YVF ensures policy responses genuinely reflect young people’s needs and perspectives by providing young people with opportunities to identify what changes need to be made and discuss solutions to the problems they themselves have identified.

If you want to find out more about joining the Youth Employment Group you can find out more and sign up here.


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For more information, please email or call 01536 513388.

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