Plans to tackle youth unemployment shape up with new CEO, Anna Smee, on board

Jan 6, 2020

I am delighted to be writing to you as the newly appointed CEO of the Youth Futures Foundation. As we leave 2019 behind, it is exciting to look ahead and consider what we could achieve together over the next decade.    

The New Year is often a time for reflection as we think about what we hope to achieve in the year ahead. Some take the opportunity to think about changing jobs. Finding fulfilling work can be a challenge for all of us, and for young people with complex lives it can feel like an impossible goal. Too many young people are prevented from securing a job they love by a lack of appropriate information, advice and connections – or as a result of discrimination.  

Despite huge investment from governments across the world, this is a problem we are still struggling to overcome. It goes beyond academic education to the environment and communities we live in, which shape our perceptions of who we are and what we can achieve – and the perceptions of others.  

We live in an age of opportunity where it should be possible to uncover the full range of roles available – and be able to apply for them – using technology, yet in many areas this seems to have got harder not easier.   

At the Youth Futures Foundation we are committed to removing systemic barriers for those furthest from the labour market and addressing ethnic disparities in youth unemployment. When young people are unable to achieve their potential, we all lose out. We need diverse talent to boost productivity today and take on the future jobs of tomorrow.  

I firmly believe it is possible for every young person to find a vocation that engages them, offers financial independence and contributes positively to our economy. For some the pathway to work may be a smooth one, for others it will be long, hard and complicated. Not everyone can do fulltime paid work, but with the right support and opportunities we can all find a role in society where we feel valued. 

The Youth Futures Foundation is uniquely placed, as an independent organisation with secure funding, to take a long-term view and do things differently. This is both an opportunity and a responsibility that we take very seriously.   

I see the Youth Futures Foundation as an ‘empowerment foundation’ – we’re looking for practical solutions that work in a complex messy world and are simple and cost effective enough to roll out across multiple locations, to reach as many young people as possible.  

  • It is not a journey we want to travel alone. We are looking for partners who share our aims and brilliant ideas we can back.  
  • We are determined to find projects that work not just in the short term but deliver lasting benefits for young people and society. To this end, all our work will be both youth and practitioner led AND evidence informed. 
  • We will share what we learn to help government, employers and delivery organisations make informed investment decisions about supporting diverse young people into work.  
  • We will empower young people by giving them access to information about good practice so they can make informed decisions about the programmes they participate in.   

A few weeks into my new job and I am working with our committed team to refine our strategy and pave the way for the Youth Futures grants programme to open in the first quarter of 2020. This will be a crucial first step towards catalysing sustainable change that will go beyond programmatic funding to address the significant structural and societal issues holding young people back. 

Over the next few months we will be recruiting permanent staff to join our team, so if you are passionate about moving diverse young people into fulfilling work, please sign-up to our newsletter and keep an eye here on our website for new vacancies and apply 

I look forward to working with you in this New Year and beyond, until then I would like to thank you for your interest in Youth Futures Foundation. 

Happy New Year and warmest wishes, 


Blog / News

When we launched our first funding programme last year, we had a clear ambition: to find, invest in, support and evaluate promising approaches that ensure that all young people have fair access to good quality jobs. 


Introducing six members of our grants panel who are bringing their passion, experience and expertise to our grant-making decisions.


Comment on the latest labour market statistics which show that under-25s account for three fifths of the fall in employment.


Youth Futures Foundation publishes its current grants portfolio representing an investment of over £5million to improve job outcomes for young people who face disadvantage or discrimination.


Youth Futures Foundation is delighted to announce the membership of its Future Voices Group, 13 young people who will act as ambassadors for the organisation and inform its strategy and work. 


Young people are being hardest hit by the downturn in the labour market, says An Unequal Crisis: The impact of the pandemic on the youth labour market, a new report published by Youth Futures Foundation today (12 February 2021). 


Charlie Howard, aged 20, joined Youth Future’s Foundation as a Finance Officer Apprentice in October 2020. 

Digital Communications co-ordinator, Rebecca Omereye, spoke to him about taking the apprenticeship route and his plans for the future.  


The Spending Review is a missed opportunity to support young people into jobs and invest for the future.


Chris Goulden comments on how the rise in the number of young people staying in full-time education pushing down NEET numbers.


Youth Futures Foundation and BBC Children in Need announce the grant recipients of the £7 millon Inspiring Futures fund.


Deuvaunn Darroux joins the Youth Futures Foundation as Strategy Officer Apprentice.


Director of Impact and Evidence, Chris Goulden, reports back from the ERSA Kickstart Forum


Jason Arthur joins Youth Futures Foundation as Director of Strategy and Innovation.


New Heads of Grants Dilys Winterkorn and Lekan Ojumu join Director Matthew Poole (pictured centre) in the Grants and Investment team.