APPG Meeting Notes – 24th May Volunteering
Chloe Smith, Chair of the APPG for Youth Employment and MP for Norwich North
Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO of Youth Employment UK
Rabyia Baig, Youth Ambassador at Youth Employment UK
Jack Welch, Youth Ambassador at Youth Employment UK
Patrick Cantellow, Youth Ambassador at Youth Employment UK
Pa to Michael Tomlinson
Nick, The challenge
Leo Watson, City Year and one young person
Lauren Mistry, Plotr
Ornella Nsio, London Youth and one young person
Woman from Creative skills industry
Chloe Smith MP gave an introduction disclosing that although there were not many people due to changes in dates we would still be having a more informal meeting today. She discussed that her and Laura-Jane would give a brief introduction about Step Up To Serve and their #IWill campaign including also the queens speech.
Laura-Jane then gave a brief intro talking about Step Up To Serve explaining that our apologies that Dominic is not here yet but we will give a intro to them as best we can. Step up to serve is a campaigning organisation that came out of coalition government to see young people get into more social action. One big agenda for them is to help employers recognise social action when young people apply for jobs. Chloe Smith MP then asked if anybody in the room had any other experiences of step up to serve. Ornella then replied with her experience of when she was working at vinspired. She remembers when she was at vinspired the Step Up To Serve #IWill Campaign then launched. She also discussed how she thinks that volunteering definitely needs to be recognised at a more national level of importance, one of the things she recalled vinspired did was that for young people they recorded how many hours volunteering they did and at each badge stage of hours it could also be converted into UCAS points. Laura-Jane then discussed how we all recognise the princes trust and how that is nationally recognised and will be also on the new The Careers and Enterprise Company passport they have now discussed launching.
Chloe Smith MP then gave a brief explanation of the queens speech by talking about how usually there are five queens speeches per government term of five years. She discussed how it brought up that there would be more resources to National Citizenship Service by recognising it locally and to put it on a statutory footing about that National Citizenship Service exists at a national level. Chloe then asked the room if anyone had been involved in National Citizenship Service? Jack then responded by talking about how he was involved in a different way because he was over 18. He was part of a group recruited to review applications of organisations and employers who wanted to get involved the National Citizenship Service and did interviews with them to see if they could be a provider of the programme or not. Patrick then discussed about his time actually doing the National Citizenship Service programme last year for six weeks. He said that while on the programme he was able to meet loads of new and interesting people. For the social action part of the programme his group did up a run down skate park in their area. He went on to say that he fully enjoyed the six weeks he spent with them and would of recommended it to other young people. Nick discussed how at the challenge they are the biggest provider of the National Citizenship Service programme. So they were happy when it was announced in the queens speech more money and resource would go into it. He said he thought it was a great experience for young people just like Patrick had mentioned around the chance to meet new people and to also do social action at the same time.
Ornella then spoke about how it’s not just about employers. She thinks that organisations and those who run the National Citizenship Service should take more responsibility. She thinks it doesn’t really benefit the people who could actually benefit from it. It would be such a good programme for those who are in a financial struggle or from a difficult family background but they don’t seem to be marketed to them. She also mentioned the fact that for most young people they want to be paid because they can’t find jobs. They would like to volunteer and help people but can’t due to their own financial situation. The young person from London Youth said that he would agree with what Ornella said. He mentioned that when he was younger he did lots of volunteering and gained some new skills, and to be up on his feet. It also depends on the individual and what will appeal to each person.
Nick then discussed the programme they run at The Challenge called Headstart. Which gives young people a guaranteed interview if they do 16 hours volunteering to help build confidence and new skills while also having something concrete at the end of it. He discussed how they work with corporate partners such as Starbucks and that young people who had done 16 hours had 9/10 chance of job offers afterwards whereas those who didn’t had 6/10.
Chloe Smith MP then posed the question to raise some debate in the meeting by asking why can’t projects attract young people themselves without the incentives? To which Nick replied with volunteering is putting forward a lot of your own time and young people have a lot of things going on in their own lives. Leo then added that it would be great to do community social action but if you want to address a real social challenge such as homelessness or social mobility at schools big organisations can work with lots of organisations on different national levels to do so.
Woman from Creative skills industry then brought up that she was going to take the response from a different angle. She then discussed that the industry she is in has a lot of skills shortages. She told us how that a lot of their employers are looking to apprenticeships and pre education about the workplace and that it is interesting hearing about skills and strengths. But employers need to see what you learnt, where you volunteered etc. Laura-Jane then replied with that she agreed totally that, that is where we need to pick up on what they need to put on their cv’s and they need to be taught the language of the workplace rather than volunteering or in education.
Laura-Jane and Chloe Smith MP then touched on the fact that The Careers and Enterprise Company are launching a passport for young people. Organisations such as National Citizenship Service will have to mandate and stamp that passport. It will build up a picture of between careers. But will other volunteering organisations be able to be on that passport.
Leo then explained what City year do and how they were set up. He mentioned that their programme had shown it had a big improvement on young people’s employability, 90% go into full time education or employment. 97% employment rate for after their programme. Laura-Jane then posed a question that she just wasn’t sure if it is volunteering or a service that schools should be funding.? Leo replied with that he appreciates the question as they get asked it a lot. He talked about how some organisations provide accommodation however they do not they give an allowance to the volunteers of £100 per week but they don’t see it as employment. They are covered by employment law. Ornella then asked what the most common demographic is on the programme? To which Leo said that most people are post uni age and from a poor background such as had free school meals that are on their programme. Jack brought up the fact that City Year have now moved out of London and branching out to other cities, how is it going? Leo talked about how City year is now in Birmingham and Manchester. In America it was funded in 1988 and that it has worked well in America and are funded by government. Laura-Jane then asked Youth Ambassador Patrick if he would do one year’s service? Patrick said although he did enjoy volunteering he wouldn’t want to do the same thing for a year. He wouldn’t be able to do that financially and doing lots of volunteering had burnt him out a bit after this year and that he was starting an apprenticeship in June and just wouldn’t have the same amount of time to volunteer. Laura-Jane then posed the same question to Rabyia who said how it’s about the type of volunteering, you have to look at what you do for a company versus what you can get out of it. She talked about her time volunteering for a housing association and how that helped her to understand and look at government policy. To which City Year Young Person responded with I think the year is a great idea, I can help my community and give something back.
Dominic: sorry for being late I was going to talk about how we can show the benefits to employers of social action and volunteering. The #IWill Campaign. Some interesting guidance from department of education around study programmes for 16-18 year olds. Some studies show how it helps anxiety by doing social action. By doing it a younger age it can show doing more volunteering into adulthood. Look at social action and understand it not just from corporates, voluntary and public sectors. But need to get more info down to SMEs. Looking at employers and teachers. Also looking at the health and social care sector to see how under 18s can volunteer for a heavy burdened sector.
Ornella: what particular age would be the best range?
Dominic: that’s a great question. the age range we would think is most impactful would be between the ages of 10 and 20 years of age. Looking at primary schools with peer mentoring. Specific to the work we do is 10-20 that’s all we can do but that shouldn’t be the cap. Could be 16-24 or 14 up etc. can’t start early enough.
Laura-Jane: we talked about earlier how young people talk about their skills they have developed during volunteering or social action. How would you best do that or is being done?
Dominic; there are some ways already being done by companies such as o2 think big and upcoming is the c and e c passport.
Dominic, laura-jane and lauren mistry: looking at skills and lists not wanting a new run that will then not used. Should be some unified skills list.
Leo: we like to give back some hours back after the year to help people recognise the skills they used and would suggest that say after 16 hours of volunteering an org gives back 2 hours or like headstart they give something back.
Nick: then talks about how headstart gives something backand thinks how volunteering and how we can give something back is a beneficial and an incentive.
Dominic -Would you speak up about volunteering?
Lauren Mistry & City Year both said some people will recognise it but some wont
Laura-Jane then asked chloe Does Norfolk jobs look at those skills?
Chloe Smith: not as a major part, I know other organisations find it hard to reach those in rural areas such as villages.
Patrick and Jack both expressed how being in rural locations can make it difficult to find opportunities and that Patrick now with his own organisation has begun to run buses through villages about volunteering.