Youth consultation on meaningful employment

Sep 6, 2019

Over the past several weeks YFF have been carrying out a series of consultations with young people across the country to get their input into our strategy. We have also been asking what ‘meaningful employment’ means to them.

The feedback around our vision for the foundation has been really positive with young people excited about the potential of us working in new and innovative ways which can better support the sector through support, sharing good practice as well as commissioning research and playing a role in how we can influence funder policy and spend moving forward. They were also positive about how youth voice will be embedded in our work and that young people will be able to have influence across different areas of YFF in an authentic way.

When thinking about the term ‘meaningful employment’ there are some common themes that are coming through from each of the groups that we have spoken to.

The top three have been:

  • Employers provide sufficient training and development opportunities to allow young people to develop and progress within a role
  • In-work support whether that be through internal mentoring or ongoing support from a known key/support worker
  • The quality of a job is important and that they feel valued in the role

It was felt that these elements will more likely lead to a young person wanting to stay with an employer thus sustaining their employment.

Of course, pay and hours was an important factor but having a positive experience and feeling supported whilst learning how to work alongside other people is essential, especially if they have never worked or have been out of work for some time.

When we think about a ‘meaningful’ outcome and how we measure success, we know it’s important to measure how many hours or how long they have been in a role but we also need to make sure that the experience which builds on a young person’s mental wellbeing, confidence and resilience are also effectively measured alongside those harder outcomes.

We are now in the process of building our youth advisory board and we’re excited to see how their voice will have an ongoing impact on our work and how we influence the wider sector moving forward.


Youth Futures Foundation is starting to build a panel of evaluators with the relevant skills and experience to conduct high quality evaluations of youth employment initiatives funded through our Impact grants. This is an opportunity to play a founding role in this collaborative endeavour to generate robust findings that can be used to improve outcomes for disadvantaged young people.
We are beginning the Expression of Interest stage now, as we expect to require evaluators to start working with projects in summer 2020. However, at this stage we will only select a small number of teams, given that some of our funding activities are likely to be delayed by the Covid 19 pandemic. We anticipate there will be further opportunities to join the panel in the future.


Youth Futures welcome the latest UK data on youth employment released by ONS today, which show a continued rise in the number of young people who are in education, training or work. 


‘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.’ New CEO, Anna Smee, outlines way forward for Youth Futures Foundation.