v volunteers tell DWP what they need to get into work
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