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 Laurence tells us about his journey since joining us in the summer of 2015.
Tell Us About A Bit About You…
I’m Laurence, from Skipton, North Yorkshire. Since the second year of my university studies in 2012, I have had a life-changing journey through volunteering which has, eventually, landed me with a golden opportunity at Deutsche Bank in September 2016, where I am still based today after a successful internship.
Why Did You Join Youth Employment UK As A Youth Ambassador?
I first heard about Youth Employment UK from a fellow delegate at a youth conference I attended in the summer of 2015. I had just been made redundant from my first job which had set back my confidence a lot and I was in need of a new focus that had a clear goal – I knew the moment I heard about Youth Employment UK I had to get involved.
The issue of youth employment and wider challenges facing my generation (housing, poor careers advice, poor educational provision, lack of support post education, social mobility, financial pressure, employment pressure, stigma from employers, stigma my generation receive generally) became my core passion and focus since realising just how unprepared I was when trying to navigate the employment market after finishing university and the detrimental impact to my mental health that this realisation had in the years that followed.
What Have You Been Involved In So Far?
After liaising with the ambassador co-ordinator I started by writing articles for the website. This was my new focus after feeling incredibly frustrated with the employment market, government services and the lack of accessibility/support post education. This, alongside the other charities I worked with at the time, provided me with a vital platform to have my voice heard on a far bigger scale than I could have ever made on my own.
I then started to attend delegate events, including the Youth Employment UK annual conference in November 2015 and later the ambassador training residential. At the residential I met like-minded young people and gained a deeper understanding of what Youth Employment UK is focused on when attending APPGs, meeting MPs, schools and businesses to ensure the issues facing my generation are kept in the spotlight and to equally also champion what young people can achieve with the tools we have available to us now.
Since I landed the break I needed in my career and I finally have my CV more to where I want it to be, I am keen to resume my support for Youth Employment UK in being vocal about the problems our generation face in transitioning into adulthood and to also help other young people navigate similar problems they may be experiencing in their own lives as I did, growing up through the education system and later the employment market.
How Has Being A Youth Ambassador Helped You?
Joining Youth Employment UK, at a time where I felt like I was fast running out of options in navigating employment, was a lifeline. Youth Employment UK gave me a lot of encouragement during a difficult time in my life.
I focused on speaking out, and being given the opportunity travel to cities like London really opened my eyes a lot to what I could be. I gained the confidence to try and up my game to make a fresh start in employment.
After attending an ambassador training session with Youth Employment UK in Peterborough I was inspired to open up more and to attend a 2-week employability course in Manchester. I was given a chance at my local Marks and Spencer on an employability scheme I signed up to, which eventually led to a 3-month internship scheme at Deutsche Bank in the City of London, which completely changed my life.
Would You Recommend Others To Become A Youth Ambassador? Why?
Without my involvement in Youth Employment UK at a time when I really needed a new focus, I don’t think I would’ve got to where I am now. Never in a million years did I think I would be able say I have worked in the City of London and Canary Wharf, two of the most prestigious career locations in the country.
Youth Employment UK’s ambassador network is full of positive, passionate people who want to keep young people and employment very much at the forefront of the agenda for government and businesses alike. If you feel as strongly as I do about wanting to make a change for youth employment, it doesn’t matter how big your ambition, Youth Employment UK will help you get there.
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