Reflecting on Being a Young Commissioner
In June 2021, we partnered with The Young Foundation and the Mohn Westlake Foundation to recruit young people through the government-funded Kickstart Scheme and train them as peer researchers.
The scheme targets 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
Here we publish the first two reports produced by the Kickstart recruits. One explores ‘Young people, ADHD and employment’, the other looks at ‘LGBTQ+ young people’s experiences in employment 2021’. The research design, tools, collection and analysis of data, and write-up of findings have all been led by the young people on this scheme.
Written by Annie Bocock
Over the past few months I have gotten the incredible opportunity to commission research for the first time as a member of the Identity subgroup of the Future Voices Group. We worked with the Young Foundation to commission various pieces of research into certain marginalised groups and their experiences with work.
A commissioner in this context essentially funds an organisation to do research whilst deciding the questions and specifics of how it should be carried out.
In this case, we initially worked with The Young Foundation to build a relationship with them and their Kickstart Researchers in order to enable us to collaborate more effectively. From there, we decided on potential research areas based on our own brief literature review, which they took and investigated more in-depth, pulling together a comprehensive review into these which we then went away and discussed within our subgroup. There were a few areas of interest: young people’s experiences of work after their time in alternative education institutions, young LGBTQ+ people, and young people with ADHD.
After choosing the latter two to focus on more in-depth and giving them some ideas of specific focus points, the Young Foundation Kickstarters went away to work on an initial proposal for us which was analysed by our end and fed back to them.
The research was then underway, and before we knew it we were looking at, and helping to analyse the results.
The whole process itself was really interesting to be on a side of research and evaluation that I didn’t know really existed before. It was so exciting to be able to work with other young people on this project too, and for us all to have been given so much agency by our respective organisations too.
If more organisations, especially those with a youth focus, could integrate young people so heavily into their work, vision and employee-base, it would really excel their standard of impact and would drastically help young people be at the forefront of the issues that affect them.
Read the reports: