Our Youth Ambassadors are a dynamic team of volunteers aged 16- 24 years old working together to share their voice and the voice of the peers to help tackle some of the employment barriers young people face in the UK. Here Jenny tells us about her journey since joining us in 2014.
Tell Us A Bit About You…
My name is Jenny, I’m 26 and I became an Ambassador with Youth Employment UK in 2014 after graduating from university. I come from a single parent family, growing up I was a young carer and sadly during my final year at uni my Mum passed away, leaving me with no support network. I took some time out from studying, came back to uni the next year and graduated with a 2:1 degree in creative writing. However I was totally lost as to what came next. Growing up with my Mum being ill, I didn’t have much exposure to the world of work or role models in successful positions. I felt lost, and frustrated that many young people were in similar situations to me.
There are over 700,000 young carers in the UK, and many more young people who have lost one or both parents/guardians. With a background of social action from a young age as a member of the UK Youth Parliament and other organisations, I felt it was my duty to speak up about this, and work with others to create positive change.
Why Did You Join Youth Employment UK As A Youth Ambassador?
Hearing about Youth Employment UK, I saw an organisation that was working to tackle the very issues I was facing. Being an Ambassador was a chance for me to do something positive and constructive, and use my voice for change.
What Have You Been Involved In So Far?
During my time as a Youth Ambassador I attended many events; from All Party Parliamentary Group meetings to conferences I was proud to represent Youth Employment UK and the voice of young people in the employment discussion. I also went on the radio several times, and wrote blogs for the website. The things which were most eye opening were the times when I was one of, or the only young person in the room, talking about young people and employment. It was baffling to me that discussions about us could so glaringly exclude us from the conversation. The Youth Ambassador programme works to address that, and give young people skills and experience in the process.
Another thing which always shocked me was how out of touch some adults, particularly certain people in government, are about the issues that young people face, and the barriers to work. I was honoured to be able to shatter their preconceptions on several occasions.
How Has Being A Youth Ambassador Helped You?
Through my time with Youth Employment UK I developed my public speaking, networking, writing, and planning skills. I also got the chance to meet many inspiring, influential, and supportive people who have all been a part of my journey in one way or another. From the staff who believed in and supported me, to partner organisation that I got involved with, and speakers who inspired me to pursue my passions.
The biggest thing I got is confidence, and the support and encouragement I didn’t have growing up. I had the space to explore what the world of work means to me, and was empowered to voice my views and experiences to help shape support and services for other young people.
Would You Recommend Others To Become A Youth Ambassador? Why?
I would encourage any young person to join Youth Employment UK and become a Youth Ambassador. The experience is unique, and will give you things that you remember for the rest of your life. Whether you’re still in education, making your first steps into the world of work, or have been working for a while, YEUK will give you the chance to enhance your skills, experience, and understanding of all things youth employment. You’ll be joining a team of superheroes who are doing great work across the country!
Want To Know More About Being A Youth Ambassador?
Youth Ambassadors sign up to 10 – 15 hours of volunteering a month. In exchange we support them with opportunities to really make a difference, as well as ongoing training and support.
Volunteering focuses on 3 key areas of our work to support young people in their journey towards employment:
- Helping young people build their Young Professional skills and confidence through attending panels, events and conferences to help inform policy, as well as through optional creative work like blogging and vlogging
- Empowering young people to share their experiences, barriers and challenges to employment
- Educating and supporting organisations to create more youth friendly opportunities for all young people
- Meet our Youth Ambassadors
- Volunteer as a Youth Ambassador
- Organisations: Find out more about our services