Posts Tagged ‘Research’
Do you have a skill or hobby that you want to pick up, but aren’t quite sure where to start?
Finding the motivation to start something new can be hard. According to our research on the Beta Generation, the best time to be trying new stuff is when you’re young. 93% of 16-21 year olds have gone out of their way to learn a new skill since recession hit the UK, and 85% of that generation are taking sole responsibility for their careers. As a budding entrepreneur needs all the skills they can fit under their belt, here are four ways to add an extra string to your bow.
Tell us how you get on by using #GenBeta on Twitter!
Join a community organisation
We champion all things community focused, and there are plenty of organisations around that help you learn skills whilst socialising. Organisations like local Women’s Institutes can teach you anything from sewing to snowboarding, and frequently pull together to hold community events. Don’t see that happening in your area? We can help you start your own Women’s Institute… or maybe even a Men’s Institute if you’re feeling particularly rebellious.
A great example of side projects inspired by the WI is East London’s Pinned It! Made It! events, which is based on crafts found via Pinterest. Run by the Dalston Darlings WI founders, they hold monthly gatherings for a minimal fee to encourage women to get crafty over a glass or two of bubbly.
Listen to great people
Curious about something but want to get the research down before diving in? You can do more than pick up a book or hit up Wikipedia. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there’s now a ton of podcasts and web chats available online, like this regular one from Team Red – a group of Digital Media experts in London sharing the wisdom of their industry.
If you’d prefer to be out and about, sign up to event sites like Eventbrite for inspirational talks and tutorials in your local area. They’re often free or charge a small fee for attendance, and are great places for gaining knowledge and inspiration.
Learn by doing – get your own project off the ground
Want to learn how to pitch, budget and manage a youth volunteering project all of your own? You could use our Cashpoint scheme. With our help you could get your own project idea off the ground with complimentary funding, and learn project management skills on the way.
We have a process in place for vInspired’s Cashpoint that means you have to convince us your idea has legs and is worth funding before any cash is allocated. So we’re really putting you to the test – we need to see that you’ve planned ahead and are envisioning a future for your project. Think of it as Dragon’s Den, but a lot less mean.
Predictable? Certainly. But volunteering really is the best way to gain hands-on experience of anything, and at vInspired.com we even divide opportunities up into categories for you. You could learn new skills in anything from construction to mentoring to performing arts. Learn while you help people, and record your hours so that you have a vInspired Award to show for it at the end. What more could you want from being taught a new skill for nothing?
Post by Jasmin Begum
The Government is developing a strategy to support more young people aged 16-25 to participate in education, training and employment so the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) invited few young people from v’s programmes, including me, to participate in a research study. The study is for the Department to better understand the people who have influenced our experiences, attitudes and behaviour to work.
Some of us have good and encouraging role models in our families, but a lack sufficient materials and guidance from the state and Job Centre Plus. There were some good experiences of Job Centre Plus staff but most of us felt ignored by staff who didn’t understand our aspirations and ambitions to find a satisfying job.
Also many of us felt that young people not given a chance to prove our potential. After a while this knocks down our emotions, self-esteem, capability and motivation. Many of the group have tried very hard with sheer determination to get a job, but have not been given a chance to utilise our skills and talents. We thought that young people are often underestimated, undermined or not listened to. That is not to justify crime or violence, but we have the trebling of tuition fees, the EMA being taken away, and many jobs cuts with youth unemployment rising.
For many families disability or lack of childcare plus rising living costs keep people in poverty. We suggested to DWP how this poverty trap can be tackled. We need more social justice by creating wider opportunities, opening doors and gaining that equal access to work and learning for every group in society, especially those that are from less privileged and deprived backgrounds that lack the economic incentives to be socially mobile.
We need more adequate careers guidance and better support to prepare us for job hunting and work. The government should invest in more young people’s interventions and specified schemes that will give that boost and target those multiple deprived areas that need support and attention. The government should remember it’s about making young people not breaking them!
It was an extraordinary opportunity to influence what goes into the Government’s Participation Strategy, and meet policy makers that affect us at a government department. More young people have the opportunity to represent themselves. This kind of work will help the government to hear us out and build a brighter future. We hope in return we receive the right policies and services.
Here’s what a few of the other young people in the group had to say…
“It’s nice to know that there are people on our side helping us.” v/St John Ambulance volunteer
“I felt that they listened to us and took our opinions on board. I hope that we helped to make a positive change for young people.” Elisha, v/St John Ambulance volunteer
“I felt they wanted to understand our point of view which is a good thing and want to know how the system works in our view.” Curtley, v/St John Ambulance volunteer
How do you measure the long term impacts of volunteering? This is question we’ve spent a lot of time debating over the last 6 months. Today we’re delighted to launch a new research report begins to answer this complex question.
We know for many young people, the act of volunteering can support increased engagement, improve skills, employability and well-being. We also know the meaningful engagement of young people on tackling key social and community issues is also considered to play an important role in creating a more inclusive society. But there are indications that volunteering could also have a number of longer term outcomes, for example, increasing their employability. The surveys and exit interviews that are most commonly used with volunteers are not designed to capture these. They are also unable to say whether young volunteers are a proiri different from young people who do not volunteer. This is essential in determining the ‘added value’ of volunteering.
Working closely with the Institute of Volunteering Research, in consortium with the National Centre for Social Research, and Birkbeck College, we’ve been trying to determine whether it is possible to measure the long term outcomes of volunteering. We’ve drawn upon a review of literatures, interviews with those that have been involved with longitudinal studies in the UK and internationally, and deliberative workshops with stakeholders including the youth sector, policy makers and young people. We’ve concluded that longitudinal is absolutely crucial to build a robust evidence base which demonstrates the impact of volunteering on young people’s lives.
We need to be pragmatic in the existing economic climate, and devise realistic plans. This helps us avoid the inertia around investing in long term impact measures, and instead builds the commitment towards a research legacy for youth volunteering. We held a roundtable to debate the draft recommendations from this project. The roundtable, attended by representatives from central government (Department for Education, Office for Civil Society, Department for Culture, Media and Sports), think tanks (Demos, New Economics Foundation, New Philanthropy Capital), research institutions (Institute for Employment Studies, University of Lancaster) and other third sector stakeholders was chaired by Ravi Chandiramani, the Editor of Children and Young People Now. The discussions illustrated that there are still some reservations around the complexity and ambition of longitudinal research. However the consensus over the need to move the debate on and to explore the possibilities of conducting such research in ways that might benefit not only the current generation of policy makers and practitioners, but also future ones.
The research makes two recommendations. The first, to conduct further analysis of existing longitudinal data on volunteering to help shape and improve any new questions on volunteering in existing longitudinal studies. The second, is to engage in discussions with existing surveys with the view to adding or amending questions in them. v intends to take forward these research recommendations. We would like to collaborate with interested partners to take forward this crucial area of work and utilise existing studies. If you’re interesting in finding out more about this research you can read a summary of the project, which is accompanied by a detailed full report. Are you interested in getting involved? If so we’d love to hear from you, drop me a line at Hannah.Mitchell@vinspired.com.
At v we are committed to putting young people at the heart of everything we do, and this includes incorporating their views and input at all levels of our organisation. v20’s – our Youth Advisory Board – role is to influence and advise us on all areas of v’s works.
Four v20 also serve as trustees. The recent report A breath of fresh air: young people as trustees from the Charity Commission confirms the important role that young people have to play in actively directing the aims and objectives of charities, by taking on positions as Trustees.
The report shows that young people are being hugely under-represented in charities across the country, with those aged between 18 and 24 accounting for only 0.5% of trustees in England and Wales. v are hoping that this research will inspire many charities to expand their range of trustees, to incorporate a wider, more representative demographic.
The report highlights that almost half of charities have at least one board level position open, and some may have difficulties in recruiting new trustees. The most common route into trusteeship appears to be through volunteering, with almost all the young trustees interviewed in the research saying they had been recruited from existing volunteering positions in the charity. It is therefore crucial that charities and their trustees take an active role in recruiting and encouraging young people, and harnessing the new perspectives, enthusiasm and insight that they can bring. As one sector expert asserted: ‘the key thing is to increase awareness and confidence – both among younger people and organisations themselves”.
The report also stressed that not only was trusteeship a great way for young people to contribute to communities and affect change, it was also an ideal vehicle for their personal development. Young volunteers felt that their volunteering experience had helped them to develop new skills, such as building respect, enhancing their CV and labour market prospects, and developing their organisational and team work skills. Young trustees added that trusteeship had the additional value of providing them with the opportunity to develop their decision-making, financial accounting and management skills, whilst also increasing their maturity and confidence.
One of v’s young trustees, Mohammed Ahmed, fully endorsed the report’s findings, stating that “Being one of the 0.5% of young trustees in England, I feel empowered to actually make sure that my voice, and the voices of the thousands of young volunteers that work with v up and down the nation are heard within v. It also gives me the opportunity to personally develop, enabling my confidence to grow, and encouraging me to think both practically and strategically for the long-term benefits of the charity. It’s a great experience, which I’d recommend to any young person – it may be nerve-racking at first, but it’s truly rewarding.”
Volunteering is a key strand of the Government’s vision for achieving a ‘Big Society’, where people are working together to take action on local issues. However, with the squeeze on public spending, demonstrating impact of programmes, initiatives and organisations is also the conversation of the day within the third sector. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) recently released Ten Big Questions about the Big Society (2010) offering questions and proposals to implement the ‘Big Society’ vision. It’s great to see this report highlight the need to ‘measure what matters’, that it is not just counting short term financial effects, but the wider and long term impacts upon individuals and communities.
Looking at the measures used to capture the value of volunteering, we tend to focus on measuring the immediate or short term outcomes. These are largely self-reported and often captured through methods such as surveys, exit interviews or discussions with volunteering placement. But volunteering can also have a number of long term and profound outcomes upon young people, for example, increasing young people’s employability. These outcomes are often not identifiable immediately. In the UK there is very little evidence about the long term impacts of volunteering, and it could be argued that this is one of the biggest challenges facing the volunteering sector in the UK. Indeed the US are further advanced in this area of volunteering research, undertaking a longitudinal study of service in Americorps by tracking 2,000 volunteers over a three year period; a great example of a long term evaluation initiative.
Research in the UK has made good progress in beginning to document the long term outcomes of volunteering. For example, Raleigh International research with the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) Rallying Together (2009) demonstrates the long term impact of its international programmes on volunteer’s personal development, global citizenship, and civic participation through a series of surveys and interviews with programme participants between 1989 – 2006. This research provides excellent cross-sectional data, capturing participant’s feedback at one point in time, but it is unable to capture the change and impact of change upon individuals. Longitudinal research into the impact of youth volunteering offers the ability to examine the impacts of volunteering over time and assess how volunteering brings about changes in the individual and wider society. Thus longitudinal research could provide an essential measure of the long term wider added social value and outcomes of volunteering.
To better understand how to measure the long term value of youth volunteering v is working in partnership with the Institute of Volunteering Research (IVR), National Centre for Social Research, and Birkbeck University to undertake a scoping study to identify the possible approaches to monitor the long term impact of volunteering. The research aims to propose a methodology that is methodologically and ethically sound, complements existing studies and financially viable. Drawing upon a review of literatures, interviews with those that have been involved with similar studies in the UK and internationally and deliberative workshops with stakeholders including the youth sector, policy makers and young people.
This week we’ve just finished the deliberative workshops with stakeholders. These were well attended by CEO’s from leading youth sector organisations, senior policy advisors, research specialists and young volunteers. The in-depth discussions in the workshops illustrate the complexities of developing a longitudinal research methodology, particularly around the scope of outcomes one study can effectively capture and the feasibility of such research within the current financial environment.
The consortium meets next week to consider the all the data we’ve collected from the initial stages of the research. They’ll be some challenging issues to discuss around the focus, methodology and to how we take the research recommendations forward. In early autumn we’ll be publishing a report with detailed recommendations on approach, method and budget. We’ve no doubt that one of the biggest challenges will be to secure financial support for a future longitudinal research project.
However as the demand increases for the third sector to become more sophisticated in measuring and capturing outcomes, we need to consider how we can effectively capture short and long term outcomes of volunteering. As the Demos report Measuring Social Value: the gap between policy and practice (2010) highlights, many third sector organisations are not yet ready to identify and measure outcomes in a quantitative way. Research to date suggests we’re on the right track to measure immediate outcomes, so it’s perhaps a case of refining and re-developing existing tools. However we’ve a long way to go to measure the long term impacts and the volunteering sector requires support and expertise to enable this to happen.
v’s longitudinal scoping research is work in progress. Securing support to enable longitudinal research in this area will certainly be a long term project but one that is very much required. If you’re interested in finding out more about this work and would like to become more involved please do contact me on Hannah.Mitchell@vinspired.com.
It’s a testament to the giant influence and command the internet has on our lives that for the ‘Anatomy of Youth’ launch event seven young people have spent the afternoon locked in a basement frantically typing away. For those that haven’t been able to make it, we’re the ones in photographs looking pretty darn tired!
We were all tasked with tackling different sections of the report, and it’s fallen to us to deal with the one that covers ‘Digital Identity’. I guess we were drawn into doing it as we’re both slightly 1337. Ste Prescott, another v20 member will join me on this blog, and for future reference anything in bold can be traced back to his giant mind. Just for reference, here’s a photograph of Ste, in case you want to chase him down a street at some point.
Let’s start with breaking down the title of this section. What is a digital identity? Having read the report, and from our own experiences in the internet world (Ste is a web designer and James is Social Media Consultant) a digital identity covers a whole heap of online information, but it can be broken down into two simple types:
- Online profiles: the ‘Public Image’ we aim to project to the rest of the world
- User generated content; blogs, comments, status updates, reviews
I’m sure everyone that’s dipped their toe into the strange world of Facebook, or indeed adventured into the shameless self promotion of Twitter understands what a profile is. So for the sake of calling everyone who’s reading this a geek we’ll move on and address the concerns that come with ‘living online’ and having ‘digital identity’.
In a passing note, Jon (another v20 member) expressed a very interesting opinion in his blog “Changing Communities – The Disconnect”, he mentioned the sadness he feels that people are more invested in online communities – with individuals the other side of the world – than they are with their own communities. In a strange show of individualism, I’m going to throw out a 45% view. It’s true that we are disconnected to our local communities, but I wouldn’t say that this is a direct result of the development of online societies. Perhaps the breakdown of local communities is a result of the modern transience of families and the increased flexibility of employment. But let’s not get sidetracked!
Ste has dragged out two factoids from the report and expressed his points about them:
42% of 16-24 year olds claim to know someone who has been embarrassed about information that has been uploaded to the internet without their consent. This is pretty normal for most of us that are on Facebook, a lot of times when you sign in you’ll find yourself tagged in a bad photograph.. no one asked for your permission but it’s up there for the world to see.
60% of 14-21 year olds have never considered any potential future effects of posting personal details about themselves online. This seems to draw on the fact that we as ‘youth’ are invested far too much in the here and now, and not the potential ramifications that having this information online could bring.
The most pressing issue for us, is that young people – well in fact most people that are online – don’t realise how much information they’re giving away by being online. Facebook makes you agree to their terms and conditions when you sign up, but how many people actually read it?
The internet is now no longer a purely personal realm. Companies are researching their potential employees before hiring to make sure they fit with their businesses ethos, and a lot of people are falling foul of the internet police. Comments made in jest can lead to the loss of a job, as many political candidates in the 2010 General & Local Elections will testify.
A more worrying element is that our online profile is being monitored by a wide range of companies, some for marketing purposes others with potentially more sinister intentions. We’ll leave you with a worrying thought, the CIA now own part of Visible Technologies – one of the biggest social media monitoring companies in the world – through their investment arm In-Q-Tel…
Beware what you put online… in case it comes back to bite you!
Having written a post on this topic over on the Voicebox site I felt it to comment on this subject here. The ideas of a ‘Lost Generation’ is pivotal to attitudes towards young people presently. As the Anatomy Of Youth’s second chapter indicates, the discourse and far reaching implications of the fabled ‘credit crunch’ upon labour conditions present a massive challenge for young people everywhere. As social theorists have noted, there is a clear correlation between the state of labour conditions – influenced in itself by economic resonances – and social relations and thus the social order. This order, in effect, is skewed and the result? Society is taking it out on young people.
This chapter addresses these discursive issues – the fundamental problems of which, lie in the favouring of older people over younger ones. There is a proven inequality currently in society. The detailing in the report first invites us to ask, then quantatively answers, why it is that young people should be helped.
The answer within this can be located in the future according to the report. As the report elaborates ‘this point in history is not a good moment to be young in the UK’. The far reaching affects of the slump will potentially cause massive cultural issues amongst this demograph in the future and thus is spawned the idea around the ‘Lost Generation’. The nation has been held in a situation where a lack of jobs, the cutting of hours and the arrest in broad hirings have resulted in a surge of university applications. So much so that 130,000 people had to be turned down.
This disbalance of the current social climate lies within the ideology surrounding social mobility as the second chapter of the report concludes. The newly formed roles and professions emerging in the ever changing economy cater to the skills sets of the youth. Young people now have the tools to really influence the societal structure, but it is employers who seem to be lacking the initiative to engage with this demograph. The report attempts to bring light to these issues whilst questioning the role of young people in our societal structure. Can employers cater to this generation? Is Britain prepared for these socially active, hyper connected, web savvy generation of kids? Does it want to?
I should hope so.
Take a peek at the report for a furthered response to the subject – it’s good reading, promise. Nice.
Being a member of v20 and working for the youth empowerment charity Envision I see and meet many young people that are active and effective citizens; young people that are volunteering, campaigning, starting their own projects and making a positive difference to issues they care about.
Chapter 7 of the Anatomy Of Youth report explores young people and the trends and challenges around being an effective citizen. Today there are many more ways to make a difference as a citizen. Young people have many avenues to express their opinions and campaign online, young people are pursuing careers in social and ethical areas and many express their views on things such as fair labour through what they buy. The chapter also highlights the lack of connection that exists between young people and political culture. Young people feel disillusioned with politics and politicians. The report explains that young people’s apathy towards politics is now greater now than at any point in history.
For me the chapter throws up two main concerns. Firstly, whilst some young people are ‘hyper engaged’ as effective citizens there are others that are completely disconnected from both wider arenas of active citizenship and traditional forms of political expression. We need to make sure that efforts are made to engage everyone as effective citizens. Secondly, whilst it’s positive that there are an increasing number of ways to be an effective citizen, these need to be accompanied by traditional political citizenship. As Stuart White points out democracy provides us with the opportunity to change our society – if the next generation becomes disengaged from it there is a risk that it will only represent a narrow section of society. We need to recognise the power of government, use our votes and hold politicians to account.
To enable young people to be the most effective citizens they can we need to be inclusive in our efforts to continue to encourage and expand the many ways that people can be active citizens. This needs to be accompanied by traditional political citizenship. I think we need better citizenship education in schools and, as the report highlights, there needs to be a transfer of political capital to young people so they can become more involved with and excited about politics.
“The two qualities needed to tackle climate change will be ‘imagination and optimism”
Boris Johnson, quoted in Anatomy of Youth
“I want to do something about climate change but I don’t know how” – sound familiar? You are not alone, this is the response three-quarters of young people aged 16-24 gave in some recent research.
Anatomy of Youth is generally quite positive but it is said that since we don’t know what we can do we are “a generation deeply ambivalent about making personal sacrifices”. Do you agree with that? I definitely do not. For a group of people described as being “the first generation to know what it means to live without carbon,” I feel greatly uneducated. Researching for background to this chapter, I was shocked that there was so many projects for young people or by young people around the theme of tackling climate change. I like to think of myself as an amateur eco warrior – choosing a vegan diet as it is better for the planet, generally hating plastic and upset when proper recycling facilities do not exist – but I had not heard of one of these projects. Maybe the problem is publicity?
Another key problem is that we are children of luxuries; flying causes a major carbon footprint yet only 10% of people surveyed agree with making flying (and driving) more expensive to try to decrease the impact.
Now is the time to make a difference and and tell your politicans what you think. The new government will be working hard to battle climate change and will want to hear from you. Be the change!
Further reading and projects to get involved in:
www.cdproject.net – Carbon Disclosure Project
www.juliesbicycle.com – Julie’s Bicycle
http://landshare.channel4.com – Landshare
www.foodworksuk.org – FoodCycle
http://otesha.org.uk – The Otesha Project
www.planestupid.com – Plane Stupid
The Anatomy of Youth report left me feeling pretty overwhelemed, which is quite appropriate, because that seems to be one of the key findings from the report! Young people, aged 16-25, have as many issues facing them as any other generation, probably more, and don’t always have the opportunity or resources to tackle these issues. We are stymied by our age, our education, our money, and by the fact that we’re young, we don’t always want to tackle these issues. If we can’t have fun now, when can we?
Theres an old phrase – societies benefit most when a man plants a tree that he’ll never sit under. How true. The most teeling phrase I found in the introduction was a phrase from the Labour Party’s statement, The Younger Generation (1959) which stated that its not young people who are the authors of their own future, but the current generation. They are the ones writing the story, that we are going to have to live. If we fail to tackle climate change today, for example, its us who are going to have to find the substitute for oil – not an easy task. So if the education system fails us, you’ve beaten us twice. The lack of longterm thinking, for the short term profit and benefit, is having the most effect on us. To steal a quote from the Simpsons, “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!” Why should it be our job to sort out your mess?
In the chapter on belonging to changing communites (chapter 6), research demonstrates that young people feel most disconnected from their local neighbourhoods and communities, less so than their online communities. I feel this is indicative of the selfish culture that was alloed to develop in the 1980s and has been advanced ever since. The interenet is a great tool, allowing its users (mostly young people) to flourish, but largely as individuals, or in a connected but deeply impersonal way. One example of this would be introducing yourself to people. Online, everyone has a list of likes and dislikes, their hobbies, and the events that they’ll be attending in the next month, that you can peruse before striking up a conversation. As Zygmunt Bauman points out, young people are losing the ability to ‘critically analyse’ others in social settings because people already have their souls laid out in front of them. I believe this is making young people less personal, and less willing or able to interact in social situations.
Our disconnect from each other is a huge threat to young people. What’s the point, emotionally, of being able to talk to five people in China, if you don’t know the names of the people next door? Page 112 of the report shows very clearly that if we don’t tackle our community disconnect, participation, volunteering, apathy, and involvement will be in decline.
Ironically, Bauman says that blogs are the embodiement of our competitive, desperate for attention, celebrity obsessed, living the private in public culture. Blogs exist to get noticed, and get attention, he says. Therefore, I’ll keep the rest of my thoughts to myself.
Unless you ask me.