5 January 2021
At the end of last year UK Youth was selected to be a beneficiary of the 2020 Guardian and Observer Charity Appeal. The national appeal has put young people, and those who support them, front and centre by raising more than £1m for UK Youth alongside Young Minds and the Child Poverty Action Group.
The appeal has highlighted the growing challenges facing young people in the wake of COVID-19. ‘I’d sunk, lost all confidence’: the charity helping young people into work’ [published on 2 January] focusses on Georgina George, a recent participant on Reach Up, a work readiness and confidence building programme, supported by Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP).
Engaging young people, aged 16-25 who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) or those at risk of becoming NEET, Reach Up provides opportunities for young people to learn the skills they need to get a job, understand where they can make the most of their talents and build the confidence and networks to pursue their goals. UK Youth works closely with CCEP to develop and deliver the programme- delivered virtually for the first time in 2020 – with CCEP volunteers providing support sessions and working alongside young people to develop the confidence and core skills they need to thrive in the workplace.
Georgina took part in the programme with Adviza, a Berkshire based organisation which supports young people and others, at important times in their lives where key decisions need to be made. At the time, Adviza was delivering Reach Up to 12 young locals. They hosted fantastic sessions including virtual volunteering support from CCEP in mock interviews, social action planning and networking skills. Georgina has been out of work for nearly a year, and was put in touch with Adviza via the Job Centre.
Programmes provided through youth work, such as Reach Up, provide an opportunity for young people to learn the skills they need to get a job, understand where they can make the most of their talents and build the confidence and networks to pursue their goals. The relationship with a youth worker, sometimes the only trusted adult in a young person’s life, and the safe space created by the youth organisations are critical to reaching those most in need. These are elements that young people may not have found through other avenues such as careers advice at school or recruitment services.
Furthermore, working closely with volunteers from CCEP, the young people on Reach Up – including the 100+ people on the virtual Reach Up programme in 2020 – have the opportunity to meet people who are successfully working in business which is essential to building their aspirations. The participants also have a chance to understand the variety of roles available to them in different organisations. It gives an insight into the world of work not offered through traditional means and, by leading community action projects with the support of volunteers, the young people gain tangible experience of teamwork, budgeting and project management to enhance their CVs.
UK Youth would like to take this opportunity to thank Holly Firmin and all at CCEP for their continued support in ensuring young people are equipped to thrive and empowered to contribute at every stage of their lives. We look forward to collaborating further this year so this can continue to happen.