Youth Voice at the DfE

Some of our Youth Ambassadors were invited to share their voice at a Department for Education youth panel last week.

Youth Ambassadors Amy, Cicely, George, Sian, Sagar and Zishi were invited to share their views on training, careers and what more can be done to stop young people becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training).

“The Youth Panel was our chance as Young People to share our voice with the Department of Education. There were many discussions going on throughout the session, mainly we talked about Apprenticeships and Traineeships, what we thought about them, what we could do to about them and what we could do to deliver good information about what there was to offer. We thought it would be a good idea for Young People to go into schools and help other Young People decide what they want to do and we could tell them our story and our struggles if we have any. Also we thought it would be good to maybe see them in Year 10 and see them every half term but somewhere away from the school.
Overall I had a amazing day and it was a great learning experience for myself, I was very happy that I could be part of something so good”. Sian

Discussing some of the challenges faced by myself and other young people going into employment with the Department for Education was very productive, I felt policy advisors genuinely wanted to hear about some of the challenges we faced and wanted to hear about solutions that we thought could improve young peoples experience finding employment. I am confident that the meeting will help inform future government policy relating to careers advice, work experience, traineeships and apprenticeships; hearing about other young peoples experiences and pathway to education and employment around the table was also very interesting”. Sagar

I thought it was a good discussion with some great points being made and hopefully it was valuable for the DfE. Personally, I found it rewarding that I was being consulted for such an important matter and would look forward to doing similar things in the future if there are opportunities. Cicely

I found the meeting with the department of education very useful and very refreshing to hear what the government already offer young people and the potential of what more they can offer. I think personally this related to myself very well as I have completed a traineeship scheme and apprenticeship and I found it helpful to understand everyone different views on either their experience or just the programs overall. I think its great that the government are inviting you people in to share there thoughts and wanting to hear our input as I believe the discussion we had will be very helpful for the government as we are young people who understand the struggles we have been through I.e training courses and finding and sustaining employment. George

My experience at the Department of education meeting was eye opening for a number of reasons. To be able to communicate directly with civil servants afforded us the chance to impact policy and government funding decisions from the bottom up – a collaboration rarely experienced by many our age. Some of the most prominent ideas to come out of the meeting were proposals for compulsory pre-16 classes on youth training and skills advice, an apprenticeship database that mirrors the UCAS system and its constituent conferences, and a reevaluation of child tax credits in light of low apprenticeship wages. Moving forward, the consensus seems to be that centralisation of information and tackling of financial constraints. Overcoming such barriers is essential to reducing the number of young people who are NEET, as well as encouraging people into apprenticeships/traineeships. Amy

It was an insightful learning experience and a wonderful opportunities to provide our detailed findings to the Department of Education on the topic of apprenticeships, work experience and government outreach to NEETs.

Regarding what the Department could do in term of helping young people to become aware of the range of the available opportunities such as internships/apprenticeships/traineeships, as it is the data age, instead of creating new information, it is rather more important to communicate the information to the users so that people are aware of them. Consequently, it would be ideal if the Department could put together all opportunities available and display them on one website. This would enable young people to learn and find such valuable information themselves, even if their schools are reluctant to share such opportunities due to concerns regarding academic achievement and performance in assessments such as league table. Zishi

Next Steps:

  • Read more about our policy work here
  • Find out about our Youth Ambassador programme here
  • Explore how your business can benefit from joining our youth friendly community here

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