#GYESymposium - Yesterday (23 Nov) Youth Employment UK held its first Good Youth Employment Symposium sessions, the first session was an introduction to youth unemployment and the current landscape with keynote presentations from Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP and an expert panel. 

1000 Opportunities - Panel Session

Diane Modahl MBE kicked off the Good Youth Employment Symposium with our 1000 Opportunities session. 

This session was supported by Tony Wilson, Director at The Institute of Employment Studies, Patrick Cantellow, Digital Marketing Apprentice and Youth Employment UK Non-exec Director, Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP, Clare Bodden-Hatton, Head of Skills Delivery, West Midlands Combined Authority and Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO, Youth Employment UK. 

Tony Wilson shared the unravelling impact of Covid-19 on young people, calling it a triple whammy as young people face challenges on multiple fronts. Not only was youth unemployment too high before the crisis began, young people are more likely to be affected by the sectors that have been locked down and find themselves competing with the class of 2020 and those who have been made redundant.

The Youth Employment Group which both IES and Youth Employment UK Co-Chair identified that in order to bring youth unemployment back down to pre-crisis levels we would need to create a 1000 opportunities a day for young people.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies spoke of the #PlanForJobs and the government's commitment to creating opportunities for young people. The work of DWP has focused on Kickstart, Sector Work Based Academies and the recruitment of more Work Coaches amongst its priorities. Mims Davies MP spoke of the opportunity that the new Youth Hubs will create for young people in bringing together a much more joined-up and holistic local approach to youth employment. 

Supporting this was Clare Boden-Hatton who is leading the work across WMCA to bring together the Youth Hubs and the education, employment and training opportunities opening up for young people. This work is a pressing priority in the CA as youth unemployment has risen from 14,000 to 46,000 due to the pandemic. As part of their work in the West Midlands, WMCA have been working closely with Youth Employment UK to bring a digital version of their on-the-ground offer so that all young people across the area can find out about the services and opportunities local to them.

Laura-Jane and Patrick Cantellow both discussed the views and experiences of young people as told through the Youth Voice Census and the work Youth Employment UK does nationally to support young people. Pre-Covid young people were not confident in finding a good quality opportunity local to them and those young people who are BAME, disabled or from disadvantaged backgrounds or who face other barriers are more than 10% less confident in their skills and being able to find meaningful employment.

This is why the Symposium focuses on a range of topics across the week, shining a spotlight on Disability, Rache & Ethnicity, Youth Offending, Mental Health and Disadvantage. Each session will bring together a focus on the continued barriers faced by young people but also the opportunity and best practice that exists in each area. It is also why Youth Employment UK made access to the Youth Friendly Employer Badge free of charge, so organisations can show their commitment to good youth employment practice and be recognised by the 1million plus young people using Youth Employment UK's free skills and careers resources on their journey to work.

Laura-Jane Rawlings CEO of Youth Employment UK

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