30 Nov 15

Francis Augusto gives his thoughts on youth unemployment

Talent Match London Youth Committee member Francis Augusto, delivered one of the opening speeches at the Center for Economic and Social Inclusion’s (CESI) Youth Employment convention on Tuesday 24 November. The speech gathered much applause from the audience and was repeatedly referenced by other speakers throughout the convention and on Twitter!

If you were unable to attend the Youth Employment convention, don’t fret a copy of the speech is below!

Good morning and thank you all for being here today, and more importantly for being on time. Many of you who chose to read the agenda, would not recognise my name. Well my name is Francis Augusto; I’m a freelance photographer and also a member of the Talent Match London Youth Committee. Talent Match London is a cross-partnership programme, testing innovative youth-led solutions to unemployment and sharing learning for social impact. Although Talent Match London is a 5 year programme funded by the Big Lottery, myself and those working on the programme hope that it will have a legacy beyond that.

We hope that the programme will inspire the sector to embrace a youth-led approach to employment support for young people.

I was fortunate enough to attend the conference last year and although there were traces of youth in-volvement, this year it’s bigger and better.

It’s extremely rare to be at such an important event about young people, and actually have young people involved, not only in the planning, but also in the execution. I think CESI have done a great job in involving young people this year and I thank them for employing a youth-led approach to this event.

All too often when we talk about youth employment, it is within the context of giving young people the appropriate skills to get a job, but I believe it should be much more than that. It shouldn’t just be about getting young people out of the job centre and into a job. I believe that it should be about empowering young people so that they gain the confidence and resilience they need to shape their own career path. As a former member of the Talent Match London Youth Committee accurate stated, ‘employment support for young people is about supporting them to be an active participant not a passive recipient’.

This is the progress I hope those in the sector will make.

Until then, there will be a continuous stream of young people who will not engage with employment sup-port services and whose stories will not feature in the unemployment statistics. A complete waste of potential. But as I said, I remain hopeful and optimist about the progress the sector is making towards a much more youth-led approach.

So as you head off to the different breakout sessions I want to challenge you to learn. I want you all to think about how your organisation can progress and place young people’s voices at the heart of your decision making. Be unafraid of honestly critiquing what you currently do, for the benefit of those stories that are unheard.

The sector needs some disruptive innovation, and I’m sure you’ll find it here today!