This month we’ve been working Youthforce on a new project, busy addressing the problem of youth unemployment in Portsmouth and promoting our Apprenticeship offer. In a bid to promote our service to young people, we’ve contacted every 16-18 year old that is currently out of work or education – the so called ‘NEET’.
Contacting 250 individuals – by first name – has resulted in some 35 have calling back. It’s exciting times. Tomorrow we’ll be working with the number of young people that turn up on perhaps one of the biggest issues facing young people, not just in Portsmouth, but across the UK and beyond. The impact of the jobless youth on the culture of Britain and the wider world will resonate beyond the immediate and into the lives of future generations.
So zooming back to the City of Portsmouth the question has to be, what can a small training provider do to make the difference? Well, our team has been working tirelessly to engage with young people, using clever marketing techniques, pouring over every syllable to make sure it sends the right message, using motivational techniques when speaking on the phone. Basically, using every ounce of our expertise in working with young people to ensure they feel they have the power and confidence to act. And that’s the key word for us…‘Empowerment’.
Empowerment for what is clearly a marginalised group is surely the strongest weapon we have in solving the massive problem that is youth unemployment. And clearly, from my point of view, it seems that people are missing this key ingredient.
But just empowering young people is not enough, and it’s clear to me that as well as being confident to go out there and grab opportunities – neatly arranged by Youthforce of course – it’s clear some tools are needed.
One tool I believe as essential is the use of Personal Branding. The marketing of ‘self’. Figuring out who you really are and promoting yourself to the target audience – our nation of employers for one. And not only that – promoting yourself so you stand out from the crowd. Considering the level of advice and guidance young people currently receive in the Schools and communities across the UK, it’s clear that young people don’t stand a snow ball’s chance in hell of gaining employment ahead of more mature, self-aware candidates – unless they get this figured out.
So how does Youthforce help young people make the difference by developing their brand? Well, a key to this is the creation of a personal statement using the following approach.
We work carefully to find out what makes young people tick. And that’s not easy bearing in mind the changes young people experience during adolescence. Enabling them to experience their qualities and key attributes is essential.
We enable young people to consider the ‘so what?’ What does your quality mean for people out there – particularly the all important employers? This helps form a personal USP ensuring young people are prepared to sell themselves to a target audience
Narrowing this down further we look to ensure that this message is targeted to the right people. By identifying qualities and figuring out the ‘so what?’ we are able to help young people direct their energy and message to the right employers, drastically improving their chances of being given a chance.
And it’s amazing what effect this process has for young people. You literally see them shine as they realise their worth, their quality and combined confidence. No doubt tomorrow will bring more learning for the Youthforce team as
we deal with the complicated beast that is youth unemployment. We do have one thing on our side as an organisation that we learnt a long time ago – our belief in young people and how formidable they are. As Einstein is reputed to have once said:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
We just help the swimmers realise where to swim, and the climbers where to climb…