Maximising the life chances of young people

23 November 2016

We all want to give our children and young people the best start in life – though in practice, it’s sometimes hard to know how best to do this. At this year’s Skills Show, I was struck by how many parents were desperately searching for information about the best options. Should their child go to college or university? And what about an apprenticeship? What career would best suit them? What skills are employers looking for? The Skills Show is a great place to find answers to some of these questions – though for some the breadth of options was clearly overwhelming.

At this years’ Youth Employment Convention, we have brought together a packed day of excellent contributors to consider how we maximise the life chances of all of our young people and support them to reach their potential.

Following an initial address by the Minister for Skills and Apprentices, I am delighted to be chairing a plenary session exploring what the future holds for young people, their education, working lives and opportunities? The working lives of young people leaving school now could last 50, 60 or more years. It’s important that we prepare them not just for the challenges of today, but for those of the future – and equip them with the skills to adapt, change and learn throughout their lives.

Involving Young People

While the Convention will no doubt involve discussions around national policy and initiatives, it is important to remember that for many young people, it is what’s happening at a local level that will determine their life chances. I’m particularly excited therefore about our afternoon Dragon’s Den session which involves representatives from five areas – Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Suffolk and the Humber region – all pitching to our youth panel about their local offer for young people. I’m looking forward to seeing whether they can convince the panel that the opportunities they are creating will really make a difference in enabling young people to develop skills and embark on the first steps of their careers.

Learning and Work Institute is committed to ensuring that all young people get the support they need to succeed, regardless of their background or where they live. My hope is that this Convention will bring together all those who share this commitment – and set out an agenda for us to work together to make this a reality.

The Youth Employment Convention takes place on Monday 5th December and is for everyone who cares about youth matters – employers; skills and employability providers; strategists, policy makers and researchers; youth workers, teachers, trainers and lecturers; as well as young people themselves. Find out more.