3 Fellow-led projects supporting young people into business in innovative ways - RSA

How Fellows are supporting young people into Business


  • Picture of Amy Butterworth
    Amy Butterworth
  • Employment
  • Enterprise
  • Education
  • Adolescence
  • Fellowship
  • Fellowship in Action
  • Youth engagement

With the employment landscape rapidly changing, how do we support young people emerging from education into long-term, satisfying work? Our three Fellows share in their blogs how their innovations are supporting this new generation...

Youth employment (ages 16-24) is at its lowest since 2001 (currently at 12%, down from 12.5% last year, and 11.6% in 2001. At its highest, youth unemployment rates were at 22.5% in 2011 [latest ONS data]), but how long do they stay in those jobs? No longer operating in the ‘job-for-life’ mentality, BBC Business reported last year that several surveys reveal that:

“younger workers aren't motivated by the same factors as previous generations, such as a job for life, but instead value a good work-life balance and a sense of purpose beyond financial success” (Feb 2017).

Forbes repeatedly reports on how Millenials and young people in the US move jobs on average once a year, and that young people require significantly different support to that of their older counterparts, largely because they choose these jobs for different reasons.

So how do we prepare our ever-changing young workforce for the slower-changing working world?

The first recommendation is to listen to the young people, their needs and, more importantly, their concerns. A recent study by The Prince’s Trust shows that:

16-25 year-olds “worry about the future, money, and generally ‘not being good enough'

And with 61% of them stressed and happiness and confidence levels at their lowest since records began in 2009, it can be difficult to stay resilient in the job market. 10% of young people are not in education, employment or training (NEET), and 58% of those have been NEET for 6 months or more.

In my experience working with 14-19 year-olds, both in education and in employment, it struck me hard how unprepared the UK education system is to support young people into work. Year 11 is solely focused on GCSEs, and those who don’t stay at the school for sixth form go onto FE colleges, sometimes without enough guidance of what impact the choice of course has on their career.

The transition from school to college is complex, and underestimated in its precipitousness

I have seen bright students late to school every day in Year 12, because they no longer had to wear a uniform, and suddenly felt at a loss with the pressure of choosing what to wear in the mornings. Another young man who was closely tutored to pass his Maths GCSE went on to study Construction at college but kept getting the measurements wrong “I didn’t know we had to learn how to use numbers in real life - I thought I was just doing Maths!”

It is, then, with great relief I introduce three Fellow-led projects that are tackling this issue with consideration and innovation. At this stage of our society’s growth – the speed of which is ever-increasing, thanks the evolving digital world, which is largely down to developments made by the young people themselves – we need to start thinking about the next generation, in the way the next generation thinks.

Ethical EntrepreneurPaul Palmarozza’s online tool encourages values-based business, incorporating mindfulness techniques and long-term business planning to support young entrepreneurs. You can find out more his Kickstarter page.

Think SmartGurjinder Dhaliwal FRSA and his partner Rohin Aggarwal have developed an online careers guide with an innovative difference: sourcing real-life problems from employees in different sectors, users (16-19 years-old) can answer questions, learn about what skills are needed, and build up their own skills profile. They are currently using the tool in colleges, and connecting the users directly to employers, which could potentially cut that painful barrier between job-seeking and job-attaining.

Project_SweatDavid Balhuizen FRSA has created a new product which partners up with Central St Martins to source new women designers to showcase their work. With 25% profits going back to CSM, and a further 25% going to Asian University for Women to increase access to education in the fashion industry, Project_Sweat uses its business model to open up opportunities for others.

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