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23 February 2016

Today we launch our new report drawing on learning from the past 2 years of delivering our employability programme, Talent Match London.

More than 250 young Londoners facing some of the biggest barriers to building careers have landed jobs through this approach which reaches out, re-engages, and connects them back into jobs, training and self employment opportunities.

They are among almost 1,000 long-term unemployed 18-25-year-olds who have been given the chance to forge their own futures through Talent Match London, a partnership programme led by London Youth and funded by the Big Lottery Fund. Many of these young people had previously been ‘hidden’ from offReport cover of Reach out. Enable. Connect.icial statistics because they are not in work or education or claiming out of work benefits.

Talent Match London uses a youth work-style approach, and young people as ‘talent scouts’ reaching out to places where young people congregate – such as chicken shops and barber shops – to locate young people who are then supported to find and stay in work. The learning from the first two years of the programme is published today in the new report Reach out. Enable. Connect. Download your copy here.

During its first two years of delivery, the Talent Match programme has:

  • Engaged 939 young Londoners facing the biggest barriers to getting work: from young mums to former gang members, to those simply lacking the confidence or skills to find jobs. 41% of them were not previously accessing any support and are now getting support to overcome barriers to employment
  • Helped 227 of those young people into employment, with continued support to make sure they can sustain jobs once they are in them
  • Supported a further 39 into self-employment

Using official data, London Youth estimates that the capital has as many as 35,000 disengaged and jobless young people who – for a variety of complex reasons – are not claiming any out of work benefits and therefore by and large do not or cannot access help to build positive futures for themselves.

Steph Taylor, Head of Talent Match London said:

There are many young Londoners who, because they are out of work and not claiming benefits, are off the radar and not accessing support they want or need.

What we’ve achieved is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is real progress and we hope our learning so far gives policymakers, employers and practitioners some insights that they can build on. We have listened to young people to find out what engages them and worked with employers and voluntary agencies to design a model which really works and isn’t just about quick fixes.”

Mark Hayward, Deputy Director, Strategic Programmes, at Big Lottery Fund said:

Long-term unemployed young people are hard to reach and even harder to employ. Talent Match London has used creative ideas from young people to engage their peers in positive and productive futures. It offers young people the chance to learn about a range of career paths involved in anything from creating animations to setting up a bike repair business. Talent Match partnerships across the country have been using new approaches just like this with a genuine focus on enabling young people who face the biggest barriers to become the best they can be in their life.

Of the 939 young unemployed people so far engaged: 11% are caring for somebody; 16% have a disability; 17% have a child; 20% are ex-offenders; and 18% have experienced homelessness.

Young people’s experiences are captured in Reach out. Enable. Connect. One young man who has recently set up his own business said:

With the support from Talent Match London I was starting to see what other people could see in me and started believing in myself a bit more and not to be scared of taking risks.

The programme has recruited young people as ‘talent scouts’ and targeted chicken shops, take-away cafes, hairdressers and barber shops and other locations where young people might congregate. Once engaged, young people take part in an individually-tailored support programme, designed to help them get into work and sustain their employment.

A wide range of employers have been involved in the programme, including Transport for London, Barclays and Microsoft. They and a range of other strategic partners have helped design and deliver the support package, and have offered a wide variety of work experience to young people.

Talent Match London is part of a nationwide initiative backed by the Big Lottery Fund which has invested £100m in supporting partnership approaches to helping young people into work. Each local area has taken an approach aimed to meet particular local need, and the data and evidence from all of the programmes is being collected to help identify what works best to support young people.

London Youth and its delivery partners will use the learning from the first two years to continue to support young people in the capital, backed by the Big Lottery Fund. The key insights around creative outreach, using a youth work approach with young people at the heart of the programme, and engaging employers from the start will continue to be a central feature.