The Taylor Review has recommended seven “principles for fair and decent work” and says: “In developing a national careers strategy, the Government should pay particular attention to how those in low paid and atypical work are supported to progress. It should take a well-rounded approach, promoting the role of high-quality work experience and encounters at different education stages.”
For the past three years a national Talent Match programme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, has engaged over 20,000 young people across England who have fallen off the radar of public agencies and face severe barriers to employment. A further 5,000 will be targeted in the next two years.
The London lead on the Talent Match programme, London Youth, and Youth Employment UK have founded a nationwide scheme called the Talent Match Mark, which will be managed by Youth Employment UK, and will help employers take the steps they need to develop young talent and recognise those firms and organisations who are taking positive steps. It will also be a signal to young jobseekers that a particular employer is committed to developing their skills.
The Talent Match Mark borrows its name from the Talent Match programme but is is based on youth-friendly employment principles created in 2012 by Youth Employment UK, along with knowledge gained from the Talent Match programme. It is underpinned by a comprehensive framework that has been externally assessed by Goldsmiths, University of London.
Two of the first companies to get involved are Centrica and BAE Systems, which have been awarded the highest possible Talent Match Mark after providing work-experience opportunities for a number of disengaged young people.
Rosemary Watt-Wyness, CEO of London Youth, said:
“Too many young people are still missing out on opportunities to fulfil their ambitions, and face significant barriers to finding jobs and building careers.
“Across the country the Talent Match Partners are working to support young people to overcome those barriers and build the skills and confidence to be ready for work. But it also needs employers to be open to offering opportunities to those young people, and willing to invest the time and additional support they may need.
“So we’re very pleased to be able to recognise those employers that are seeking to change, and offer more positive opportunities for young people from a more diverse range of backgrounds to get some experience of the world of work. The response of early-adopting employers to the Talent Match Mark is very encouraging, and we want many more employers also to open their doors and offer opportunities to young people. London Youth is pleased to have been leading the development of the Talent Match Mark, with a wide range of partners across the country – it is now up to all of us to make it a valued and important part of how we support young people into work.”
Laura-Jane Rawlings, Founder and CEO of Youth Employment UK CIC said:
“We are delighted to be part of this collaboration with London Youth to bring together a national youth-friendly mark for employers. Many organisations do fantastic work to engage, support and employ young people.
“We know through our extensive work with young people that often a lack of work experience or careers support is a barrier for them to move into employment and so it is great to champion youth-friendly employers whilst encouraging others to do more to support young people.”
Sarah Benioff, Deputy Director of Strategic Funding at the Big Lottery Fund said:
“The 21 National Lottery funded Talent Match partnerships were created to work collaboratively and find new ways to support the hardest to reach young people into employment. Success has been dependent upon working closely with the business community and developing positive relationships with employers to ensure young people have access to a wide range of opportunities and the support needed to sustain employment. The partnership between London Youth and Youth Employment UK will take the learning from Talent Match and develop it beyond our programme in a new and exciting way that will aim to maintain partnerships with businesses both on a local and national level."
Michael Tomlinson MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Employment, said:
“The Talent Match Mark is an excellent initiative that will recognise the large number of employers across England who are already supporting young people into employment. We know through the important work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Employment that many young people find a lack of experience a barrier to employment.
“We hope and would encourage that the Talent Match Mark is used to support more employers to create more opportunities for young people and remove unnecessary barriers to employment. The Department for Education is currently reforming technical education and apprenticeships, employers play a big role in this reform as we try to ensure that the pathways for young people are fit for purpose and support the needs of our growing economy."
Talent Match cover employers and skills agencies in 21 areas across England and has already found opportunities for 20,000 young people. A fifth of them have found permanent jobs and some have even found the confidence to set up their own businesses.
Young people targeted by Talent Match are typically those furthest from the jobs market and often completely outside of the benefits, work and training system and facing severe barriers to gaining the skills they need to get into work.
Many (70%) of them lack the basic 5 A-C grade GCSEs; some have children (17%); some have drug issues (7%) or have been convicted of a criminal offence (13%). Almost a quarter have a disability and a similar proportion have experienced mental health issues.
Father-of two-John was referred to Talent Match by the Probation Service after serving two years in prison for drug offences and was determined to turn his life around. He was interested in working in the rail industry and, through Talent Match, was able to land a place on a rail training programme run by Auctus Training Solutions, which is based in the West Midlands. John excelled in the training and has now secured employment in the rail industry. He said: “I’m loving it, it’s the best decision I ever made.”
Rose Rees, Operations Manager, Auctus Training Solutions Ltd said:
“Auctus Training Solutions have worked with Talent Match and have found the organisation very professional and efficient; all personnel are caring and committed to providing exemplary support to young people on their programme.”