Employers can transform the lives of the most disadvantaged this summer

May 23, 2024 | Home Featured, News, Work experience/internships

Employers can help save lives and fulfil CSR responsibilities by taking part in the UK’s first funded summer programme for young people at risk of violence, explains Sam Carey at Inclusive Boards.

England’s youth violence rates remain unacceptably high. Inclusive Boards is excited to be working with UK Youth and Ending Youth Violence Lab (EYVL) to deliver the UK’s first summer jobs programme for young people who are at risk of becoming involved in violence.

The Summer Jobs Programme’ hopes to offer around 600 young people at risk of becoming involved in violence, five weeks paid work over the school holidays, in a range of placements that suit their diverse aspirations.

The programme is not just a violence reduction intervention but also an exciting opportunity for employers to provide work opportunities to young people who might not otherwise have access to them.

Participating employers will have the opportunity to fulfil their own social responsibility by supporting young people facing the most severe disadvantage, whilst taking part in a highly subsidised employment programme.

Reducing youth violence

Last year, children were involved in 3,400 knife and offensive weapon incidents and there were 646 hospital admissions of 16-18 years olds for injuries caused by sharp objects.

Beyond these worrying statistics, violence permeates children’s lives – the Youth Endowment Fund’s annual Children, Violence and Vulnerability report found that more than one in 10 teenage children had been a victim of violence in the past 12 months and almost half reported that violence and the fear of violence affected their day-to-day lives.

It’s also well established that minority communities suffer a disproportionate impact from crime and violence.

Successful programmes worldwide

In many American cities, Summer Youth Employment Programmes (SYEPs) offer young people from disadvantaged backgrounds short-term paid employment during the long summer break from school.

These programmes give young people a glimpse into working life, expanding their social networks and aspirations, as well as developing their ‘soft skills’.

Many of the programmes include mentoring designed to support the complex needs of some of the participants. Last summer, the New York SYEP, which has been operating since the 1960s, offered placements to 100,000 young people.

SYEPs are a promising route to reducing youth violence. For example, the One Summer Chicago Plus programme found a 43% reduction in violent crime arrests over a 16-month period.

Given the evidence from the US on violent youth offending, this approach is now being trialled in the UK

The UK Summer Jobs Programme

The Summer Jobs Programme will provide young people with opportunities to engage directly with local employers combined with the support of a dedicated youth worker for the entire placement.

We are also reviewing the young person’s wellbeing and mental health while supporting them with employability and self-confidence.

Recognising that there may be barriers to young people being able to take up this opportunity, the programme will provide a daily allowance and pre-placement preparation and they will be paid weekly in line with national living wage.

In this first year, the programme will be available to young people in specific areas of London, Manchester and the West Midlands, but with the number of areas increasing in year two and again in year three.

Opportunity for employers

We are seeking employers who are prepared to welcome, work with, mentor and supervise a young worker(s) at risk of violence, in a safe and supported way, throughout the duration of their placement.

Employers will work in collaboration with the young person’s dedicated youth worker for the purpose of ongoing support and successful placement for the employee and employer alike.

As well as recruiting employers to host the placements, Inclusive Boards will ensure the programme’s support and job placements are culturally appropriate. Meanwhile UK Youth will lead the programme delivery through a network of youth organisations, in England to start with, and EYVL will evaluate the programme.

To learn more about the programme and sign up to taking part visit www.inclusiveboards.co.uk/summerjobs

You may also be interested in…

5 ways to make a tangible difference to social mobility

How Aon reinvented work experience to engage disadvantaged young people

How to put social mobility at the heart of future talent strategy


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