On Tuesday we were excited to welcome Minister of State for Employment, Damian Hinds MP to meet several young digital entrepreneurs, being supported by Talent Match London, a pioneering youth employability programme. The Minister met the young digital entrepreneurs during his tour of the Jobs Hub at Collage Arts, one of several Talent Match London Jobs Hubs across the capital. The young creatives shared their current projects with the Minister, including a design treatment for a new video they were producing.
The visit marks the three year anniversary of our employability programme, Talent Match London, a partnership programme led by us which was co-designed by young people and continues to have young people at the heart of its decision-making.
Dowa Ojarikre, a young entrepreneur on the programme and a former Talent Match London youth board member commented that, “Talent Match London has enabled me to develop the entrepreneurial skills I need to succeed. Through the programme I’ve developed logistical skills that have helped me manage my own renewable energy business.”
Minister for Employment Damian Hinds, said:
“Digital is one of the fastest growing pillars of our economy with a strong demand for fresh, skilled talent. It was a pleasure to meet so many young people who are investing in their future, and I wish them the best of luck.”
The programme, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, targets young people who are furthest from the jobs market, including those who are completely outside of the benefits, work and training system and facing severe barriers to gaining the skills they need to get into work. Sarah Benioff, Deputy Director of Strategic Programmes at the Big Lottery Fund, was also in attendance and commended the work of Talent Match London: “Today marks three years of exceptional progress in empowering young people in London to overcome challenges, become leaders and make a significant difference to their lives. It is a strong example of how young people are driving change within their own communities.”
Since its launch in 2014, Talent Match London has worked with over 1,700 long-term unemployed 18-25 year-olds in London, supporting 56% of them into full-time education, apprenticeships or employment and self-employment. A key feature of the programme’s success has been its commitment to youth leadership. Young people on Talent Match London take on leadership roles in the programme, performing outreach as Talent Scouts in their local communities and delivering peer support to other young people on the programme.
Jim Minton, Director of Membership and Communications at London Youth, noted that the Minister’s visit is a positive step in being able to understand and tackle youth unemployment: “We’re really pleased that the Minister was able to hear direct from the young people about their experiences. Through Talent Match London the young people involved, many of whom have enormous challenges to employment, have become leaders in their community, lending their time and voices to improve services for others locally, and ultimately shaping how employment programmes are developed in the future.”