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 Michael tells us about his journey since joining us in 2013.
Tell us a bit about you…
Hi, I’m Michael. When I was younger I wanted to be an astronaut and a police officer. Now 24, I work in the Civil Service. I love helping out so you might bump into me volunteering around London! My hobbies include photography and playing the piano. My core belief is that you should never complain about hard work: take it as an opportunity, and use the knowledge and experience you gain to help yourself and others.
Why did you join Youth Employment UK as a Youth Ambassador?
When I finished Sixth Form, I was disappointed at the lack of information that was readily available on apprenticeships. I decided I wanted to help schools and organisations understand apprenticeships; the career paths, the type of apprenticeships, and what it meant for young people. Youth Employment UK ticked all those boxes so I signed up to become a Youth Ambassador in 2013.
Youth Employment UK has become a great platform on bringing together organisations to address issues within the education sector and on barriers to employment, and I am proud to play a part in it.
What have you been involved in so far?
Being a part of Youth Employment UK has taken me to many places. My most memorable experience was having to travel to Sheffield to an event to inspire and motivate young people to strive for the best; I had to wake up at 3am to get the first train from London. How’s that for volunteering!
I’ve also been able to represent Youth Employment UK at events such as the Annual Apprenticeship Conference and STEMTech Conference, as well as some of its All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) sessions.
More recently I’ve been visiting schools to provide information on apprenticeships, soft skills, and topics relating to the transition from education to employment.
My favourite places I’ve visited so far are The Royal Institute of Architects and the Parliament estate.
How Has Being A Youth Ambassador Helped You?
Volunteering as Youth Ambassador for Youth Employment UK has definitely given me a confidence boost, especially with public speaking. It’s allowed me to network with established professionals and volunteers outside Youth Employment UK; individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life who either work or give up their time for this sector. It enables a platform for discussing ideas and experiences, and can really help put things in a different perspective, especially on current topics.
Looking back at my experience, it has definitely opened my eyes to see the bigger picture, and proves we have made progress, but there is still much to do.
Would You Recommend Others To Become A Youth Ambassador? Why?
It’s rewarding, if not challenging. Joining as a Youth Ambassador will help you to develop your skills; skills employers look for and ones you use when helping others.
Youth Employment UK has a network of ambassadors you can speak to if you need help, but there are also mentors. You also get all the support you need when facilitating events or visiting venues, and it’s always a great feeling to come out of an event knowing you either made a difference or inspired someone.
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