Foundations collaborate to launch unique social research project and fight youth unemployment
LA Young Foundation, Youth Futures Foundation and Mohn Westlake Foundation today announced the launch of a unique social research project and collaboration to tackle youth unemployment.
The project, made possible through the Kickstart program, will see up to 30 unemployed alumni trained as peer researchers, undertaking research on issues that affect them and their peers.
The program comes at a time when young people are the hardest hit by the impact of the pandemic on the economy. Recent labor market data confirms a growing trend of long-term unemployment among young people. Unemployment among 18-24 year olds is at its highest for five years, and 42% have been unemployed for more than six months compared to 30% a year ago (ONS labor market overview, May 2021).
To better understand the challenges facing young people, the Young Foundation will provide a cohort of young people across the UK with access to employment that builds confidence, skills and agency in the world of work and in the world. field of social and civic action. Trained as peer researchers, they will be supported to forge new relationships with their communities, opening up access to new social and professional networks, individuals and civil society groups, allowing them to act more on issues. updated by their research.
In the first phase of the program, the Kickstart Cohort will undertake research in their local communities, exploring perceptions about the strengths and weaknesses of these communities. Phase two of the research will be commissioned by the Future Voices Group, a group of 13 young ambassadors who act as Youth Futures ambassadors and advocate for young people across England on the issue of employment.
This demonstrates the common commitment of the organizations to put the voice of young people at the heart of this project to deepen the understanding of the youth employment system. In the third phase, once the cohort has further developed their research skills, they will have the freedom to research questions that are important to them and to create their own research project. Through the field research work undertaken, the project will document the lived experiences of up to 450 other young people.
Peer researchers (also referred to as “community researchers”) use their lived experience and contextual understanding of a social or geographic community to help generate information about their peers for research purposes. For this project, the hired peer researchers offer a unique perspective on the issues that affect young people and, in particular, those who have experienced unemployment.
Once peer researchers have been trained and worked on a research project commissioned under this program, they will remain members of the Young Foundation’s peer research network and will be able to access other work opportunities at the Young Foundation. as projects arise.
Helen Goulden, CEO of The Young Foundation, said:
“This is a unique opportunity to help young people build skills and strong employment networks, while harnessing their desire to create positive social change in their communities. We know the social research industry is nowhere near as diverse as it should be – and this program has opened up an entirely new avenue for attracting more diverse talent to the industry. I hope this is the start of something much bigger – and I want to publicly thank our first cohort of Kickstart researchers for bringing so much energy and dynamism to the Young Foundation.
Anna Smee, CEO of the Youth Futures Foundation, said:
“Our collaboration weaves research carried out by young people; an overview of the experiences of young people in times of socio-economic change and experience of paid work in social research. We are committed to identifying what works and are excited to work with young people from diverse backgrounds to generate evidence. I look forward to following the journey of young researchers and building on our understanding of how to make the youth employment system work better for them.
A recently hired peer researcher, as part of the program, said:
“Getting the role of a peer researcher definitely had a positive effect on my mood, my self-esteem and my feeling of having more determination. The start of training really solidified that. I really appreciate it and I am excited about the future of what we are going to do.