At YFF its been exciting to think about this opportunity about how we can make sure that youth participation is sewn into the fabric of everything that we do in new and innovative ways. We know that this is a process that will take time to embed and only by listening to and collaborating with others will we make sure that we are constantly learning and growing as we move forward.
Last month we carried out our interviews for the exciting and important role of CEO of YFF. As part of this process, we held a day of youth panel assessments for shortlisted candidates to set out their vision for YFF to a group of five young people. For any organisation looking to incorporate youth voice, involving young people on your interview panels is a good first step in having young people actively participating in the governance of your work.
Working with Youth Employment UK, we recruited five ambassadors onto our panel, utilising their experience and knowledge of the sector to help us select the best person for the job. We were keen to work with people from different backgrounds and ethnicities, enabling the diversity of their experiences and opinions to shine through. Living in different parts of the country also added depth to the conversation about what mattered most to them and what they wanted to see from the CEO.
As always, it was important to ensure that they were fully involved and had a clear understanding of their role within the overall recruitment process. This involved creating an information pack and running a facilitated session prior to the interviews so that they were all fully supported and felt comfortable with the expectations for the day. It was also important to make sure that their time with us was enjoyable and a good learning experience for them so again it was good to hear about how much everyone gained from being on the panel.
“I have never taken part in something like this before, so it was an extremely rewarding and equally a fantastic opportunity for me to learn”. Zishi
“I wanted to take part in the youth panel to be a part of something new and upcoming, that would benefit the young people of today and in the future.” Tenika
“The experience was informative, and much more fun than I expected given that it was my first time ever being on an interview panel for the chief executive post in a youth-focused organisation. It also boosted my confidence, my analytical and communication skills.” Deuvaunn
Choosing a CEO is never an easy task, so for the panel part of their time was spent thinking about how well the candidates were able to communicate their overall vision to them and how well they engaged with them as young people. The panel was highly engaged and proactive, wanting to ensure that YFF chose the right candidate for the job and how empowered they felt knowing that their voice would be listened to in the overall decision making.
“I felt that my feedback would actually be counted instead of just ticking a box of attendance! I also saw how difficult the process of choosing the right candidate could be, therefore heightening the importance of asking the right questions.” Tenika
“The experience provided me with insights into the third sector, as well as the different opinions of persons that work with young people.’” Deuvaunn
“Giving the young people the decision-making power is more important than simply limiting them to only “feel” that they are involved, and their opinions were “listened to” but not actualised.’” Zishi
As a newly forming organisation, we are working hard to ensure we weave into our work the richness, diversity and new ways of thinking of young people across the country, in order to establish youth voice as a core pillar of everything we do. As we take the next steps with our newly appointed (and soon to be announced) CEO, and as we grow and develop as an organisation, it’s important to make sure our systems and structures fit the young people we are working with rather than them having to fit into ours!
‘”I feel that the YFF should create Youth Advisory Boards and also have young people on the Board of the Foundation itself. This will help to keep the YFF focused on its goals and objectives that were set to help the organisation benefit as many young people as possible.” Deuvaunn
‘” think that the YFF should integrate young people throughout their screening process for staff and when conducting research in the future. I believe this will make the organisation more organic having the clientele that they are trying to reach within their team.” Tenika
“To establish a youth panel is possibly the best way to give young people an opportunity to get involved in the organisation going forward.’” Zishi