MtW CEO reflects: 2022 CEO Summit and Youth Employability Awards

Last month I had the pleasure of hosting the Movement’s annual CEO Summit and Youth Employability Awards. My first events since joining the organisation in February and the Movement’s first face-to-face Summit and Awards in two years!

The events brought together senior leaders from business, youth outreach organisations, charities, government and young people from across the country, to discuss the most significant issues relating to youth unemployment today and to celebrate the wonderful achievements of individuals and businesses across our network; none more so than our young people. The videos below give a sense of the electric energy and inspirational people in the room on the 28th March.

At a time when youth unemployment is nearly three times the national average, focusing on how we can better work together to tackle some of the most prominent challenges and barriers to work which young people are facing, has never been more of a priority.

We were honoured to hear from a number of young people who spoke openly about their experiences and career journeys, including the difficulties they have overcome to enter the workplace. They told us how the opportunities they have been given have helped to transform their lives, setting them up for long and successful employment; testament to the value youth employment programmes continue to provide to young people up and down the country.

The energy in the room really highlighted the commitment of our network to find solutions and ensure more young people have access to high quality job opportunities.  Some of the key points discussed include:

A lot of young people still don’t know where or how to look for jobs or support. How can we help them to find out about, access and navigate the various opportunities and programmes available to them? For example, how do we better connect to young people in local communities and what can we do to ensure outreach goes beyond the school environment?

We need to meet young people where they are. We need to focus recruitment activity on the needs of the young people being recruited, ensuring recruitment processes are inclusive and flexible.

Interviews for example are not always necessary for some roles, with people better demonstrating their suitability for a job during a trial period.

We also need to ensure youth employment programmes are always designed around the needs of young people. Identify the cross-sector and interpersonal skills needed by young people, in order to be set up for success and enabled to pivot where demand is; a focus on digital skills and sustainability will be key.

Hybrid programmes offer the best of both worlds.  As the country continues to open up post-lockdowns and we find ourselves navigating new ways of working, we shouldn’t forget the positives the shift to online working and learning has brought. For example, the democratisation of meetings and the opportunity to hire young people in more rural areas who may not have had the opportunity before.

We can and need to do more. Our young people need us now. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing incredible youth talent wasted. Young people need work and employers need smart, creative young people.  We have a responsibility to our younger generation. Put simply, they are our future and by helping them into work, we are not only helping to create a fairer world but helping business and the country’s economic growth.

In order to drive change, we must continue to monitor the challenges and barriers to work and action solutions in a way that is sustainable for all but which also delivers at pace. This means keeping the conversation alive with businesses, young people and our partners. To help enable this, we’re delighted to be launching a series of regular roundtable events for our network members. More to follow on this soon.

A big thank you to all who attended our events; to our speakers, our panellists who shared their experiences and everyone who contributed to this important conversation. By coming together and discussing the actions we can collectively take to help more young people work, we can continue to make a difference to the lives of many more young people across the country. I look forward to continuing our work together to achieve this.

To our award winners and nominees, a huge well done again. You are proof of the incredible scale of the potential of young people everywhere and proof of what’s possible when our network comes together to support and nurture this talent. Keep going.

As ever, if you’d like more information or are thinking about joining the Movement, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the team. We’re ready to support.

Gillian Churchill is CEO of Movement to Work. Connect with her on LinkedIn









Watch the videos below for highlights across the CEO Summit and Awards…

Hear from the amazing award winners!