From education to employment

Youth-Friendly Darlington project set to reduce youth unemployment

Darlington Borough Council has invested in a new youth employment project to support more young people into good quality local jobs and opportunities.

Darlington Borough Council and its partners are pleased to announce the appointment of Youth Employment UK to lead a flagship project to tackle youth unemployment in the local area. 

Young people in Darlington report a lack of confidence in being able to find good quality work where they live. Young people also say that they have a number of barriers to work, such as a lack of confidence, skills, experience and that Covid has impacted their mental health and their anxiety.

Darlington Borough Council and partners want to change this narrative and the perception of the quality of work in the area. Having had significant investment into the local economy internally and from external organisations moving to the area, it is felt that there are enough opportunities for young people to study, work and thrive in Darlington.

To support this initiative Darlington Borough Council has employed the services of Youth Employment UK, a leading youth employment organisation, to drive a youth-friendly agenda across Darlington. 

The youth-friendly project has a number of work strands, including putting the voice and experience of young people at the heart of this project by creating a Youth Advisory Group, building the online Youth Friendly Darlington hub where support and opportunities for young people can be found, and helping employers to be recognised for and create good quality work experience, training and employment opportunities.

It is hoped that all of Darlington will get behind our young people and make the town great with them and for them.

5 ways for Darlington’s local young people, employers and educators to get involved: 

1. Visit the Youth Friendly Darlington Hub


Young people can explore a wealth of local opportunities and supporting resources relating to employment, studies, training, and building career confidence.

2. Attend the Darlington Business Breakfast on 11th October 2022


Employers and local organisations are invited to attend the launch of Darlington Borough Council and partners’ Youth Friendly Place initiative at a Business Breakfast to be hosted at Darlington College’s new Business Hub.

Learn how your organisation can lead the way in making genuine change in the region through understanding the real issues and barriers facing young people in your community.

3. Sign the Good Youth Employment Charter


Darlington employers wishing to showcase their opportunities to local young people are invited to sign Good Youth Employment UK’s Charter. Membership is entirely free. The benefits include getting resources to help your organisation work towards the key principles of good youth employment, making your organisation’s employment and training offers an attractive proposition for the young people of Darlington. An additional tangible free benefit is gaining access to showcase your latest early career opportunities to the young people of Darlington – and it’s all entirely free, with no hidden costs.

Help the young people in your area live local, think BIG.

4. Join the Darlington Youth Advisory Group


Young people now have an opportunity to have their say about what’s working for you in terms of local opportunities and what you think it will take to make Darlington a great place for all young people. No experience is needed. You just need to be aged 11-30, live in the Darlington area, and have some ideas about what improvements you would like to see. As a member of the Darlington Youth Advisory Group you can be invited to meetings where you share ideas and review the activities of the project taskforce.

5. Become a Young Professional Provider


In the 2022 Youth Voice Census of over 4,000 young people in the UK, only 34.4% of those in education thought they understood the skills employers were looking for. Of those still in education and those aged under 18, 29.7% rated the careers advice they had received so far as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

Schools and colleges in the Darlington area can sign up for free careers education resources and custom cohort support as a Young Professional Provider. It is entirely free, with no hidden costs. You will receive custom support to embed careers learning in the form of online courses relating to building skills and career-readiness, useful student advice as part of the Young Professional programme for students and learners, teaching resources and more.

Laura-Jane Rawlings, founder and CEO of Youth Employment UK: 

“This is a wonderful opportunity to support the ambitions of the Borough Council in providing the best possible support for the young people of Darlington. We believe that the key to making a place youth-friendly is having a clear vision that everyone can buy into, joining the local actors together through quality programmes, whilst having young people take the lead in influencing and shaping what a youth-friendly Darlington will be. The fact that young people across the country consistently tell us about their lack of confidence in being able to find good quality jobs where they live is compelling proof that this initiative is needed now more than ever.”

Councillor Jon Clarke, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People:

“In Darlington we have made exceptional gains in attracting new quality jobs to the town. We need to make sure that all our young people see these opportunities are available to them and that they are able to access them. We are delighted to be working with Youth Employment UK and have every confidence that Youth Friendly Darlington is going to make a huge difference to the prospects of our young people.”

What is a Youth Friendly Place?

A Youth Friendly Place is a constituency or other defined locality where every local stakeholder (including young people, local government, educators, employers, youth organisations and parents) are committed to working together to reduce youth unemployment in their area.

About Youth Employment UK

Youth Employment UK is an independent, not for profit social enterprise founded in 2012 to tackle youth unemployment. As experts on youth employment and unemployment, they are ideally placed to understand the complex landscape facing young people, educators, employers and policy makers.

Notes for editors

Press enquiries should be directed to Simon Beckman, Head of Partnerships at Youth Employment UK, via email.

Simon Beckman

Head of Partnerships

M: +44 (0) 7973 779 629

E: [email protected]

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