Award will help ensure young Londoners are not left behind

Young people in London will be helped to access employment in the Covid era and beyond thanks to an award from the Youth Futures Foundation to charity St Giles.

The award will help 150 young people aged 16-24 each year who are not in employment, education or training to gain education, skills development and employment opportunities. St Giles has been providing similar work in London for over a decade and will use its existing approach of offering practical and emotional support to address wider barriers which might be holding young people  back from making positive progress. 

Typically, these could include housing issues, poverty, family problems and involvement in the criminal justice system. Most of them will be experiencing a multiple combination of these barriers -  74% of the young people we support are facing two or more barriers meaning they are less likely to engage with mainstream services.

The Youth Futures Foundation was established to find, fund, support and evaluate programmes which help young people to move into meaningful work. Unemployment amongst 16-24-year olds is currently four times as high as any other age group; those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds face the biggest challenge in getting a job.

The award comes at a time when young people aged under 25 are approximately two and a half times as likely to work in a sector that is now shut down due to Covid restrictions (IFS).

Youth Futures Foundation’s Chief Executive, Anna Smee, commented: “We are delighted to support St Giles in their work helping young people in London into employment. Youth Futures Foundation is committed to a society where all young people have equitable access to good quality jobs, by identifying ‘what works’, investing in good practice and initiating new ways of working – to ignite systems change. This partnership will support our ambitions and help to deliver our vision.”

St Giles Chief Executive Rob Owen OBE said: “Even before the pandemic, many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds faced added barriers in securing a job.  Unfortunately, they have now  been disproportionately affected by its fallout. We are extremely grateful to the Youth Futures Foundation and share their vision in supporting these young people and providing them with the opportunities they deserve.”

Each young person will receive one to one casework support addressing employment related needs and other wider practical and emotional issues. The aim is to increase the levels of skills and confidence in each young person so they can secure and sustain good quality employment which also meets their personal ambitions.

Teams will work out of St Giles’s existing London offices in Southwark, Holloway and West London and take referrals from a range of sources including specialist services addressing mental health and substance misuse, criminal justice providers and also self-referrals.