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27 February 2013

1 March 2013

This week sees the culmination of three things that we’ve been building up to at London Youth:

First, we’ve heard officially that we can progress leading on Talent Match in London, part of the Big Lottery Fund’s £100m investment in tackling youth unemployment.

Second, we’ve launched our refreshed three year strategy with our management team and Trustees – setting the direction for the next phase of our journey.

And thirdly, the second edition of our publication, Hunch, has finally arrived back from the printers, with a new brighter shade of purple on the cover – making the case for investment in young people’s all-round character, confidence and capabilities, rather than tackling presenting symptoms in isolation.

At the heart of Hunch is a call for investment in young people’s all-round character. By taking this approach into Talent Match London, we believe that we can deliver life-changing outcomes for young people’s prospects, not by just getting them into a job as many programmes aspire to do, but by giving them the confidence, character and desire to thrive in a fulfilling career for the long term. Working with and through local cross-sector partnerships, we plan to broaden young people’s support networks of both adults and peers; invest in young people’s capabilities for employment (see the Young Foundation Outcomes Framework); and open up opportunities for them to thrive, in partnership with local employers. We’ll develop their resilience to manage the ups and downs of the workplace – and provide unconditional consistent personalised support that will enable them to achieve in whatever direction works for them, whether that be a first job, a place at college or starting up their own business.

Most young people who we talk to report consistently falling away from existing services and out of the many short-term interventions aiming to get them into work. They report cycling in and out of opportunities without ever moving forward. Through Talent Match London we want to “Hunch” employment services for young people, focusing less on into-work outcomes and more on developing the confidence, desire and skills to manage their career independently. We can only do this in partnership and we’ve been inspired by the creativity and willingness of our steering group (including Jobcentre Plus) to support this approach. We want to tackle youth unemployment through a brighter shade of purple – and we’re delighted so many other stakeholders, not least the Big Lottery Fund, want to come on board to help.

We’ve also had reassurances from the Secretary of State that he does want to support young people beyond formal education but sees this as a role for local politicians. We want to work with authorities and policy makers across London to help shape what this means in practice, and ensure the principles of Hunch are built into services and opportunities for young people across the capital.

The principles of Hunch, developing young people’s confidence, character and skills and broadening their networks and outlook, feed through all of London Youth’s strategy – whether young people are engaging in outdoor education, social action, sports development or employability programmes. It doesn’t matter to us if young people are sliding down a high zip wire, renovating the kitchen in their local youth club, coaching a girls’ football team, organising a trip to the theatre, or spending a night around a campfire. The key is that they do it with a positive peer group, with consistent adults they can trust and with the encouragement and confidence to try new things. This is why the breadth of London Youth’s offer is so important – there is something for every young Londoner to engage in and to build and strengthen who they are and the content of their character.

So, as I reflect this week on the culmination of these three things and what we hope to achieve at London Youth in the coming years, I can’t help being optimistic that the future for young Londoners is a brighter shade of purple.

For more information on Talent Match click here.

More about London Youth's work and new strategy can be read here.

Hunch is a London Youth publication and can be found here.