For further information please contact Emma Tooth, Community Investment Officer, Coast and Country
Welcome to the Northern Housing Consortium’s (NHC) fourth and final briefing for members outlining ‘What Housing Does’, exploring the work and activity carried out by NHC members with children and young people. This series of briefings will focus on and raise awareness of the different approaches adopted by housing providers on various themes when working with children and young people.
This briefing will focus on employment, skills, and training, and the different initiatives housing providers are offering to young people to help secure training or employment, develop skills, and raise aspirations. Housing providers work with different partners and sectors locally to raise awareness of the different pathways and opportunities out there, and how they can support local young people. This can include anything from providing apprenticeship opportunities, bespoke training on a particular area, work experience, and securing employment.
The paper will showcase a number of case studies outlining the different approaches, initiatives, and projects delivered by housing providers across the north, as well as wider partners.
The aim of these briefings is not only to share with NHC members the great work that is being done across the housing sector in the north and to share the learning: the aim is to also make a plea to members to share this learning with wider local partners from across different sectors. This will help raise the awareness and profile of this work, and show how the housing sector and its partners are making a real difference to the lives of children and young people.
According to Office of National Statistics, 963,000 people aged 16 to 24 years were NEET (Not in education, employment, or training) in the fourth quarter of 2014 – this is 13.1% of people in this age group (ONS February 2015). This is an increase of 9,000 on July to September 2014, and down 78,000 from a year earlier.
In England the regions with the highest proportion of 16 to 24 year olds who are NEET are in the north: the north-east at 17.3%, Yorkshire and Humber at 15.2%, and the north-west at 14.3%.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of young people (aged 18 to 24) who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET). For some young people this will be a temporary setback, while for others it will have a long term detrimental effect on their future life chances. Youth unemployment is three times of that of adult unemployment
The housing sector offers much more than just bricks and mortar. Most housing providers have much wider social agendas, offering services which help to build stronger communities: support for elderly and vulnerable individuals; finance and debt advice; and, in the increasing challenging economic landscape, training and employment services.
Housing providers are investing time and resources in projects and programmes to support young people, more specifically around training and employment services. This has come about as part of their wider social responsibility role for their tenants, residents, and communities. They are providing opportunities and raising the aspirations of young people who are looking to develop their skills for the world of work, either for those seeking employment, self-employment, or apprenticeships.
With youth unemployment at record levels and the impact of welfare reform, financial hardship, and poverty visible, we see more and more of the acute challenges faced by those out of work. We also see the bleak futures many young people feel they are facing in the job market across the communities the social housing sector serves. Some of challenges faced by young people when searching for employment include lack of confidence, lack of skills and experience, and them being “not work ready”.
Some evidence shows that young people are most likely to be recruited into low wage, low skilled jobs where the pathways for progression are unclear. Employers value work experience, but the majority aren’t engaged with schools and colleges to support young people to learn about and experience the world of work.
“With one in five vacancies in the UK difficult to fill because of the lack of the right skills in the labour market, the importance of developing the skilled and experienced workforce of tomorrow cannot be overstated”.
(Catch 16-24, UKCES)
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills published a report titled Catch 16-24: Youth Employment Challenge in February 2015. The report highlighted that a lack of work experience is a real problem, and the BBC Workforce Survey 2014 also found that work experience was a top priority for businesses looking to hire young people.
The following case studies show a number of interventions that housing providers and their wider partners have in place to provide opportunities and raise aspirations for local young people through training and employment initiatives.
Coast and Country: employment and training initiatives
Coast and Country is the largest registered provider in Redcar and Cleveland, owning and managing over 10,000 homes. The organisation supports young people back into employment through a number of avenues.
Journey into Work and Forging Futures
Under their Journey into Work strategy, Coast and Country offer training and paid work placement opportunities to people aged 19 and over. This is part of the Forging Futures project that the organisation has been delivering since September 2013. Forging Futures is a pioneering initiative that delivers bespoke training and is designed to motivate and increase self-esteem, as well as providing unemployed people with the skills to actively seek and secure learning and employment opportunities.
Chloe Dye, 20, completed the forging futures training SFEDI level one qualification in self-marketing and personal enterprise. This increased her self-confidence and gave her tips and hints on how to deliver an elevator pitch and sell herself successfully during interviews. Chloe was successful in completing a six month paid work placement within Coast and Country’s business administration department in December 2014. As part of this, Chloe has progressed onto an apprenticeship with Community Union. Chloe said about her experience:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience and confidence within an office environment. The team are very supportive, and I would recommend this project to anyone wanting to find work and improve their skills.”
This project is funded in partnership with North East Procurement and New College Durham (ESF funding). Coast and Country have helped over 37 people through this project to find work or paid work placements. The Community Investment Team was also awarded the prestigious matrix Standard.
Get Into Customer Services training
Get Into Customer Services was offered in September 2014 in partnership with Groundwork North East and Cumbria and the Prince’s Trust.
Groundwork North East delivered NVQ qualification training to 13 young people. Coast and Country facilitated the training at their Westfield Farm training and resource centre which is based in the centre of Dormanstown in Redcar.
The five week course involves two weeks of classroom based training and three weeks working in a customer service environment providing participants with vital vocational skills.
Numbers and feedback
To date 13 young people have completed the Get Into Customer Service programme with four moving into employment and one going to university. The organisations that the young people gained employment with were Route 1, Redcar, Spa Hotel, D’Town Deli, and Cad Wise.
The young people were asked which part of the Get Into programme they enjoyed most and why. The feedback included:
- Meeting new people.
- Gaining valuable work experience.
- Been given the chance to get experience and new qualification.
- I enjoyed the classes and meeting new people who share similar situations.
- The people and chance of a placement in something I want.
- Meeting new people.
- My work placement.
- I enjoyed the support I received from the staff and meeting new people.
- The work placement because it’s an opportunity to work in a place.
- The support from the staff was great.
- The group debates as a lot was learned from them.
Within the last year Coast and Country have developed their training facilities and currently offer residents a range of training opportunities. The organisation is an accredited centre for NCFE qualifications and SFEDI qualifications, and there is a high demand for construction skills. They offer regular facilitated training around health and safety, such as IOSH and COSH training. Within the last year the organisation has helped over 237 people into employment.
Coast and Country also offer work hubs in the community. Working alongside the National Careers Service, this includes helping and supporting people with their CVs and application forms, as well as offering one-to-one information and guidance sessions with qualified officers.
Sunderland City Council: Work Discovery Sunderland
The Sunderland Economic Leadership Board recognised the importance and benefit of businesses working with schools and so, through its Business and Schools Task Group, Work Discovery Sunderland was established.
While acknowledging that individual schools across the city have established relationships with a number of businesses over the years, the objective of Work Discovery Sunderland is to enhance existing engagement activity and develop new relationships, particularly where there are gaps or projected shortages in industry.
Work Discovery Sunderland is in its third year. Activity between schools and businesses takes place throughout the year, with a showcase week-long event taking place in the summer. The week-long event – which has been held in 2013 and 2014 – launches at the Stadium of Light and sees businesses joining students and teachers from across the city to hear inspirational speakers relay their experiences and provide key pointers for today’s young people preparing to enter the world of work for the first time.
It goes on to provide an interactive day of activities for young people, with business personnel leading careers stalls, workshops and discussion groups on interview preparation and practice, application processes and procedures, problem-solving and communication. On the launch day there are around 40 businesses, 20 secondary schools, and 1,000 pupils involved.
Throughout the week there are opportunities for young people and businesses alike to participate with various business themed activities taking place in both business venues and schools around city. Many businesses host ‘Open Days’, deliver talks in schools across the city, and provide business-to-business workshops on topics such as promoting engagement opportunities.
The week concludes at the Stadium of Light with presentations by the schools’ pupils in response to a ‘problem-solving challenge’ to an audience of business representatives.
Evaluation and feedback
Some formal evaluation of Work Discovery Sunderland was conducted in 2014. The evaluation found that:
- 80% of young people experienced a positive increase in their knowledge of learning and career options after school.
- 63% of young people experienced a positive increase in their ability to make learning and career choices after school.
The schools involved reported that:
“Work Discovery Sunderland enabled the focus of enterprise and employability to be raised again in schools and has provided a fresh platform on which to develop future activity.”
“Pupils are considering new career pathways and this has made them more vocal in the choices they have made in Year 9.”
“Work Discovery Sunderland has enabled increased engagement between schools and employers.”
Quotes from businesses involved included:
“Work Discovery Sunderland has raised their company profile among students.”
“They now have a better understanding of school leavers’ needs and the sectors they are interested in.”
Work Discovery Sunderland will take place again in 2015, from 29th June to 3rd July.
For further information please contact Stephanie Rose, Associate Policy Lead.
Bolton at Home: “I Can Make It Happen” aspiration project
The “I Can Make it Happen” project began as an attempt to raise the aspirations of young people in the Tonge and the Haulgh area of Bolton, a locality long recognised as an area of high deprivation, low aspirations, high levels of teenage pregnancy and intergenerational worklessness.
The project targeted schools across the area focusing on Year 6 children prior to their transition to secondary school, with a view to giving them a taste of the opportunities for the future in their locality, town, and beyond, and an alternative to their prevalent aspiration.
The overarching aim of the project is to raise the aspirations of children in the area, some of which includes:
- To raise aspirations and explore personal development opportunities to prepare pupils for future employment.
- To raise awareness and encourage young people to be curious about different work roles.
- To enable young people to recognise their own skills and encourage self-belief.
In 2010, it worked with 179 pupils in six primary schools in the Tonge with the Haulgh area of Bolton. Over the years the project has expanded, and in 2014 it reached over 570 pupils from 17 primary schools from the most disadvantaged areas of Bolton.
The project was originally funded and developed by Bolton at Home but is highly dependent on a strong partnership to deliver it effectively. The partnership includes a number of organisations across the area.
The young people and their families participate in a number of activities throughout one week including:
- Visits to Bolton College, Bolton University and Bolton One (multi health and leisure complex).
- Family learning sessions.
- Drama workshops.
- Community job hunts.
- Carousel of activities at the Bolton Macron Stadium including sports skills and life saving skills.
The young people also have a visit from an inspirational speaker who speaks to them about their own career and the road they have travelled to get there. In 2014 the inspirational Speakers included: a civil engineer, a pathologist, a teacher, the CEO of Bolton at Home, and a BBC Sports journalist, among others.
The whole week culminates in a university style graduation ceremony with all the young people and their families. Awards are presented each year by a different senior representative including the senior officer from within the partnership, the Vice Chancellor of Bolton University, the Mayor of Bolton, and the President of Bolton at Home.
Feedback and evaluation
Pupils complete a workbook during the course of the week outlining their learning and thoughts each day.
Teachers are asked to complete a questionnaire with reference to all aspects of the week including organisation, content, pupils’ outcomes etc.
Parents are asked for their thoughts after the family learning and graduation sessions.
Quotes from children
“It was so fun. I even believed in myself for once.”
“Amazing! It made me think about the world of jobs all around us.”
“It just made me speechless. There’s not a word in the universe to describe this week.”
“You can be anything you want if you put your mind to it.”
“There are more jobs than I thought.”
“That university weren’t that bad.”
“Girls can do boy jobs.”
“It doesn’t matter if you aren’t the most clever person, you can still get a great job. If you really want to do something just keep trying and you can do it.”
“If I start from a little job I can become successful.”
“I can’t always get the job I want straight away. It would be better to think first.”
Quotes from teachers
“Opened children’s minds and gave them confidence.”
“The project was absolutely fab! Learnt lots myself! The children were very engaged, enjoyed the activities, and were proud of their work and being a part of it. I’m very proud of my class!”
Quotes from parents
“Enjoyable, fun, insightful, informative.”
“Brilliant and the children loved every minute of it.”
“Absolutely fantastic! Great opportunity for the children.”
Partner organisation (2014)
“I believe this project is excellent for young people at this age who may not be aware of what they wish to achieve and starts the ball rolling in young people thinking about their futures. I discussed with the children… dream… believe… achieve.”
Over the last five years, the project has been extremely successful in improving the children’s confidence, offering them more choices and a greater knowledge with regards to jobs and careers and ultimately giving them a sense of achievement with the graduation ceremonies at the end of the project. Bolton at Home is committed to supporting this project going forward. The graduation ceremony was also http://m.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/11341163.Youngsters_enjoy_their_own_graduation_ceremony/” target=”_blank”>covered by Bolton News.
For further information on this project please contact Samantha Higham, Neighbourhood Manager, Bolton at Home.
Liverpool Mutual Homes: employment initiatives
Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) and Housing Maintenance Solutions (HMS) are both committed to offering developmental opportunities to young people within Merseyside, enhancing their employability and working together to build a future workforce. LMH work alongside the city council team to utilise mayoral bursaries that aim to specifically target 16 to 18 NEET young people, as well as working with other providers to support them with work experience opportunities for 16 to 18 NEET young people on traineeships.
HMS is a committed provider of quality apprenticeships to the Merseyside region to assist in meeting both LMH’s growth and succession planning aspirations for the future. HMS currently has 16 apprentices in employment across the business with an open day planned for May 27th to recruit additional apprentices for a September start. The apprenticeships that are currently offered are construction related operational apprenticeships, back office business administration apprenticeships, and horticultural grounds maintenance apprenticeships.
HMS is committed to the personal and professional development of each apprentice. As well as receiving ongoing pastoral support from a HMS apprentice liaison officer, each apprentice is also assigned a mentor who offers additional support throughout their educational journey. This one-to-one coaching and support plays a pivotal role in ensuring that each apprentice feels respected, valued, and able to thrive within the organisation.
An HMS apprenticeship coordinator acts as a point of contact and coordinator of all elements of the apprenticeship journey. This support is paramount as each apprentice nears the end of their journey to ensure that progression within the company is a smooth transition with additional support being provided if an apprentice needs to find further job opportunities external to HMS.
LMH has one apprentice who completed his level two Business Admin Apprenticeship framework and has successfully progressed into fulltime employment within HMS. LMH have another who has successfully also completed his level two Joinery qualification and has progressed onto multi-operative units. HMS has planned an event in September to celebrate the achievements of both apprentices and also the achievements of four of LMH’s multi-operative apprentices who are due to complete their qualifications and programme of study in July this year.
As well as a commitment to developing apprenticeship opportunities within the company, HMS are also committed to offering viable practical work experience opportunities to students and customers who are in need of practical site experience to accompany their programme of study or enhance their employability. Work placements are coordinated by HMS apprenticeship coordinator, a sign up pack is completed, and a health and safety induction is completed by a relevant team manager.
HMS will work with Brighter Futures to offer regular work experience placements to support their traineeship programme as well as supporting local schools with work related placement requests. HMS are committed to diversity within its workforce and have formed a partnership with Blackburn house to offer a four week work experience placement to their newly qualified level two multi-operative female students. The students will join LMH in July of each year in order to give them the opportunity to put their theory into practice.
LMH are equally committed to supporting young people back into work and have developed a partnership with Liverpool City Council to create the Liverpool Mutual in Work Initiative (LMIW). The LMIW team are specifically working with LMH tenants who need support finding employment opportunities, with a specific focus on those aged 18 to 25. LMH have two dedicated information and guidance officers who will work with this group to find sustainable employment opportunities.
In addition to the LMIW team, LMH also has the Volunteers into Placement programme. The VIP programme will run for six to 12 months with the aim to engage with 60 – 70 tenants across two cohorts and support them in overcoming any barriers they may face in order to help them move back in education, employment, or training. LMH began the delivery phase to their first cohort of 34 participating tenants (five of whom were aged 16 to 25) in early January 2015 with the theme New Year: New Start. All participants were assigned a mentor who were trained by the Housing Diversity Network and received ongoing pastoral support from programme coordinator and welfare and employment advice from LMH’s in-house employability advisor.
The aim of the programme is to empower LMH tenants to achieve their goals and support them in increasing self esteem, confidence and impacting positively on their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing whilst tackling unemployment at the same time.
The overall programme was delivered over a number of months:
Weeks one to 10: Getting to know you sessions/employability skills training/functional skills assessments/mentee training with HDN/travel support and bike maintenance training courtesy of Merseytravel/health and safety and first aid qualifications/illegal money lending/business start up advice.
Weeks 10 to 18: Participants started their voluntary work experience placement within their chosen area of work.
Week 19 – one week break: Celebration event of journey so far and competitive interviews – we held our graduation ceremony last week and it was a moving event. We will be holding interviews on Thursday for paid placements.
Weeks 20 to 46: 20 successful candidates will continue within placement opportunity. This will no longer be on a voluntary basis but the participant will now be paid the living wage and employed for 16 hours per week on a six month fixed term basis. VIPs at this stage will also work alongside Knowsley Community College to complete an industry specific level two qualification to compliment their placement.
Those who do not progress onto the paid placement stage will receive intensive support from the work placement coordinator and employment advisor to source other alternative employment or training opportunities.
The success rate of the 16 to 25 year olds on the VIP programme are as follows:
- One found part time employment to coincide with his full time college course – he said the 10 weeks of VIP were more useful than last 12 months in sixth form.
- Another found part time casual work.
- The remaining three are progressing onto LMH paid opportunities.
For further information please contact Danielle Azanuwha, Apprentice and Work Placement Coordinator.
Guinness Housing Partnership: Youthforia Youth Employment Commission
The Guinness Housing Partnership gave its support to an innovative Youth Employment Commission report ‘Simple Truths’ on the complexities facing young people entering into employment.
‘Simple Truths’ is the report of the Commission produced by Youthforia, the North West Regional Youth Forum. Youthforia is made up of young people age 11 to 25 from across the North West and brings together local groups such as youth councils and youth cabinets, to have a voice at a regional level. Their aim is to enable young people to work together to improve the life experiences of other young people and have a collective voice across the region. Youthforia is supported by Youth Focus NW (formerly the North West Regional Youth Work Unit) and the British Youth Council; it acts to co-ordinate UK Youth Parliament in the North West.
Youthforia democratically elects a campaign issue twice a year based on the current problems affecting young people in the region, and in 2012 members chose ‘Tackling Youth Unemployment’ as a key campaign.
They initiated the Youthforia Youth Employment Commission (YYEC) to generate new thinking and policy ideas around youth uunemployment, directly informed by young people. The Commission was established as a policy group which combines adult experts on youth unemployment, such as policy makers and employers with young people. The Commission’s role was to look in depth at the issue of youth employment and to co-produce policy recommendations that could increase the levels of youth employment across the north west.
Commission membership was decided by the Youthforia Leadership Committee at the outset of the Commission process. Young people from across the region were invited to apply for places and adults were directly nominated for their expertise. The selection of the chair was part of this process. Commission members voted Tracy Fishwick, Director of Inclusion North West as Chair.
Adult commission members included Ian Simpson, Head of Access to Work at the Guinness Housing Partnership, Tracy Fishwick, Director of Inclusion North West, Alex Howley, Head of New Initiatives at New Economy, and Professor John Diamond at Edge Hill University.
To maintain young people’s views as a starting point, the Commission was asked to use the youth unemployment section of Youthforia’s manifesto as the framework for its work, but it was not required to support the manifesto itself. Key points from this manifesto were used to establish a theme for each meeting. In addition to this, the Commission chose to define a guiding question that was explored in relation to each theme, and used as an overarching line of enquiry. This question was:
What are the gaps, weaknesses and strengths of the current approaches to youth employment, and what policy recommendations can be made that will increase the numbers of young people in employment across the region?
Each meeting was opened with a key input on the meeting theme, where possible this was given from an external speaker, and then followed by structured discussions on the meeting theme.
To ensure that the process is fully inclusive to adults and young people, the discussions included a combination of standard meeting procedures and facilitated group work. This included team building and icebreaking activities during the opening session to establish effective relationships. Findings and key recommendations were minuted by the Secretariat.
Throughout the Commission meetings, ongoing dialogue was maintained with young people outside of the Commission via consultation workshops and online discussion with young people who participate regularly in Youthforia and its membership organisations. This included:
- Two formal consultation workshops with young people around issues set by the Commission, participated in by over 100 young people at each workshop with participants from each of the local authorities in the region.
- Ongoing informal dialogue with young people through the Youthforia Facebook group and at Youthforia meetings.
- Review of information and materials produced by youth councils and youth groups within Youthforia membership, in particular:
- Oldham Youth Council’s Youth Unemployment Report
- A consultation with young people who are N.E.E.T in inner city areas around their I.A.G. needs
It’s estimated that over 400 young people have had opportunity to comment on different aspects of this report, or have had their views taken into account through review of material from previous projects. Throughout the report there are quotes directly from young people that illustrate their experience of the current system.
Commission findings: current policy challenges
Using both experiences of young people and input from adult experts, the Commission reviewed key areas of policy in relation to youth unemployment to inform its discussion. It is the view of the Commission that there is a number of key challenges within the current system which are outlined below:
- The system of support is complex and lacks cohesion.
- There are issues with quality of information, advice and guidance in schools around options.
- There are also barriers preventing employers from becoming more engaged and supporting better choices.
The Commission recommends the creation of a single minister or champion for youth employment and better co-ordination of support systems in schools and colleges based on the needs of young people and linked to employers.
Guinness Housing Partnership’s Commission member Ian Simpson, Head of Access to Work, found it an interesting and in many ways illuminating process:
“It has been a pleasure to work with the Youthforia Commission. The young people presented wholly positive contributions and displayed talent, determination and optimism for their futures – it’s up to us professionals and policy makers to meet the challenge and not let them down. The meetings were dynamic and really challenged my perceptions about young people’s experience from school to employment. I hope we can work together in future.”
From the perspective of Youth Focus NW and the young people Liz Harding, Chief Executive, said:
“Having input from housing association professionals that are expert in both regeneration and employment as part of the Commission brought tremendous benefit. Here were adults like Ian Simpson, who are committed to improving employment opportunities brought into direct contact with young people.”
Bringing young people who use and/or need services together with adults who make, scrutinise and implement policy creates opportunities for learning and for improving services. The young people begin to understand the constraints and obligations adults may be under and the adults have the opportunity to hear from people who live and experience the systems and services they set up. The coproduced solutions and ideas could be small tweaks to a service of full redesign but the involvement of young people will help make improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.
For further information please contact Liz Harding, North West Youth Work Unit.
Sheffield City Council: housing apprenticeship scheme
Fifteen young people, between the ages of 16 and 25 years got their new year off to a great start with a housing apprenticeship at Sheffield City Council.
They all took up their new posts in January 2015 and will spend the next two years gaining valuable skills and experience, leading to an NVQ in Business and Administration, Surveying or Horticulture.
Their work will cover all aspects of housing, including repairs and maintenance, rent payments, re-letting empty homes, money advice, estate services, supporting tenant volunteers and general administration.
The Council have expanded the range and level of qualifications on offer including NVQ Levels two and three in General Housing, Customer Care, Business Admin, Housing Maintenance, Horticulture, Homelessness and Surveying.
Janet Sharpe, Director of Housing at Sheffield City Council said: “I would like to congratulate all of the apprentices on their achievements so far, I’m sure this will be the start of a promising and exciting career that will provide lots of great opportunities in the future. However, we will also benefit because the trainees will contribute enormously to the service customers receive.”
Like all Council employees, apprentices have good working conditions and benefits, including flexible working, training and development. The Council particularly welcome applications from young people who live in council housing, as the council would like their workforce to represent the customers they serve.
Apprenticeships are a great way to learn and gain recognised qualifications whilst getting paid.
Many of the Council Housing Service’s previous apprentices have gone on to become permanent members of staff.
Fifteen places were available last year as part of a pilot project. Later this year a further 20 apprenticeships will be advertised.
Alicia Bayliss is 24 and lives in Eckington.
“Getting on board with this apprenticeship is enabling me to work full time and gain a qualification which is relevant to my desired career path.
“As a council apprentice, I am offered a generous amount of training and opportunities which are great for my personal development.
“In the future, I hope to have a full time, permanent job with the Council so I can continue to grow within the organisation.”
Aamir Khan, aged 21, is from Hillsborough.
“My previous work was in property and construction, an industry I really enjoy, which led me to apply for this apprenticeship.
“I also felt it was a fantastic opportunity and could see myself developing successfully through the scheme.
“In the future I hope to take in all the skills, qualifications and experience I have gained and hopefully apply for a full time role with the Council.”
Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT): peer research
Analysing GGHT employment data, unemployed 18 to 24 year old tenants were not representative of people coming forward to be supported to increase their employability skills or for live vacancies. Through intensive interventions within weekly job clubs and pre-employment activity, participants gain skills to effective job search, complete application forms, and interview skills to help them move into employment more quickly. Therefore in January 2015 GGHT commissioned Youth Focus North West (YFNW) to conduct peer research to improve services to young people. YFNW is a strategic organisation working to promote and support services for young people across the north west, including giving young people a voice
Peer research is a form of participatory research; it allowed young people, to design and lead their own research and then make recommendations to how GGHT should respond. In this context peer research is a method of gathering rich, in depth, qualitative information about the views, values and life experiences of young people around their engagement with GGHT employment support. The initial research question was set by GGHT which the peer researchers used as a starting point to plan activities to engage in dialogue with other young people
Two GGHT tenants aged 16 to 24 were recruited to form a research team along with a GGHT trainee.
YFNW provided a two day induction and training session for the team. The training covered techniques to develop initial ideas around the research topic and designing research methodology. The team went through the research question and considered their own experience of seeking employment support.
The Research Team worked with GGHT to identify representative groups of young people aged 18 to 24 to take part in the research using their database.
The research used questionnaires, a focus group session, visits, and interviews to gather the information that has led to recommendations. The information was gathered and analysed by the young peer researchers who were able to bring their own personal experience to the process.
Publicity and promotion: posters and leaflets are not effective ways of contacting young people. The most effective method of publicity is word of mouth and online i.e. Facebook.
Develop ‘Employment Support Champions’: young people who use the service can be recruited to ‘spread the word’ and advocate. A role with training, materials, with someone to report to, and a way of recording what they do. There should be a reward system in place to incentivise them. Rewards can be personalised to be what the person wants i.e. vouchers, an opportunity to job shadow, a particular training course.
Job club venues:
Some local community venues rented by GGHT were perceived to be shabby, difficult to find, and in some cases dirty and smelly. Others like the Gateway and Bewsey were more popular. The team visited the job clubs with a check list drawn up after analysis of the questionnaire responses. Following the visits they recommend that GGHT:
- Make sure venues are visible and easy to find
- Make sure venues are clean
- Have adequate and sufficient computer equipment
- Do not put computer equipment in cages
- Have free tea, coffee and drinks available
- Have discrete space for private conversations
- Make sure people are welcomed on arrival and can tell who are staff
- Have visible attractive up-to-date notice boards
GGHT are in the process of implementing the recommendations for the venues and developing Young Employability Champions.
For further information please contact Tracey Walsh, Employment Initiatives Manager.
The case studies in this briefing showcase some of the different approaches and initiatives adopted by Northern Housing Consortium members around the work they are doing with children and young people, and the different opportunities and support round employment, training, and bridging the skills gap.
There are so many great examples of the different ways the housing sector across the north is working with children and young people. The NHC would like to thank all the organisations who have submitted case studies for this briefing and supporting our work.
The NHC are keen to hear from members around good practice, learning, challenges and future programmes around supporting young people into work or training, bridging the gap from education to employment, and providing the skills and experience for the world of work. NHC would also welcome members’ thoughts on how we can support this work going forward. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.