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Calling all teachers - Barclays LifeSkills need your help to help solve youth unemployment: you could win a £200 voucher NOW CLOSED

(19 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Nov-13 09:22:56

The team at Barclays say "there are one million unemployed young people in the UK, and without support to give teenagers the skills they need, that number is only going to grow. That's why Barclays have teamed up with lots of organisations (including Mumsnet) to build LifeSkills. LifeSkills is designed to help give young people access to work experience placements, key employability skills and the information they need to take their first steps in the world of work.

So far, thousands of young people have signed up to LifeSkills, but it?s not enough. That's where you come in. LifeSkills is a schools-based programme, so we need more schools to register, so their students and teachers can gain access to these resources and the work experience programme".

Please check out the programme here and share with your school. Let us know how you get on with this on the thread.

Barclays would also want to hear your thoughts on the questions below:

~ What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?

~ What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people?

~ How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement?

Everyone who lets us know on this thread that they have shared LifeSkills with a school or who answers the questions above (preferably both!) will be entered into a prize draw where one teacher will win a £200 John Lewis voucher. Prize draw: 6 January 2014.

And please, head to LifeSkills and sign up your school, so you can see all the resources, support and information in the LifeSkills programme.

thanks and good luck

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Thu 05-Dec-13 21:05:39

Barriers - Literacy is a 'big un.' And I actually think that the obsession with grade C is counter-productive. Some pupils would benefit more from getting a qualification in a Basic Literacy course than by schools being forced to pretend that a grade C in the grasp of everybody and that only bad teaching prevents them.

sharond101 Thu 05-Dec-13 22:00:40

~ What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?
Businesses are so tight for money that training is lessening and some young people are being thrown in at the deep end without an experience or support. Lack of job positions available make it harder to turn down jobs with less attractive benefits and rewards packages also.

~ What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people?
Alot of young people are motivated by work experience places and given an insight into there future which is inspiring to them and gives them focus. It can help them mature too knowing what is ahead of them and what will be expected of them.

~ How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement?
Many of the students are very hardworking and given the right support could assist in many areas businesses need man hours for. It also brings youth and fresh blood in to liven things up.

HannahLI Fri 06-Dec-13 12:58:23

~ What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?
Young people come out of school with lots of thoughts, ideas and knowledge but what I see them struggle with is knowing how to put that into practice. Its very difficult to make a knowledge (something thats in their head) into a practice particularly if it isn't categorised the same. For example I worked with a young person who was a fantastic touch typer but didn't realise that was what it was called or how it would be relevant for the workplace? What I am trying to say is that many don't realise they have the skills the work is looking for.

~ What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people? I ran a program to help young people get back into education, training and employment and one of the most helpful things was volunteer work placements with organisations giving them the chance try out different skills and figure out what they were good at. As a result we had one young person who went on to get a job through the experience gained, another was helped to understand their skills better and how to tranfer those into the workplace and what jobs they would be best suited to.

~ How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement? Students are often under utilised on workplacements. Its good for them to take on an assistants role and they are an excellent worker that isn't paid. They also come with different ideas and thinking - for example in a company that wanted to look at interacting on social media a young person will have a different perspective and hopefully lots of ideas on how to utilise it.

CrewElla Fri 06-Dec-13 14:51:31

What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?
I am on the board of a charitable organisation and I work with the education and outreach department. I am not a teacher but do volunteer in education.

One of the biggest barriers I see is a sense of entitlement; the teens and uni grads we work with are wonderfully educated and confident but they don't want to do things that they consider beneath them. I wish they wouldn't see entry level positions as dead end jobs and, rather, see them as a place to gain valuable work experience.

What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people?
We had a teen volunteering with us for work experience. He struck up a friendship with one of the full time workers and received some helpful tips in how to set up his own business; nothing fancy, a simple pet caring business to help fund his further education. The business included dog sitting, dog walking, and pet visits. Both his friendship with the staff member and his volunteer experiences helped him in his new endeavour.

How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement?
Enthusiasm & energy! The kids we see seem to have an unlimited amount of energy; working with them helps remind people why they loved their jobs in the first place. I guess it has to do with seeing things through their eyes.

princesssugar Sat 07-Dec-13 11:36:28

I have registered with the scheme for my school and recieved my folder and pencil case! I am a year 11 tutor and am hoping it will come in useful for them

~ What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?
Half of my kids expect a job to be provided for them "ill find one" is the commn answer when i enquire. They seem so used to having everything sorted out in school the have knowledge of what it will be like, despite all the work we do on it. There is a sense of entitlement, they dont understand that starting at the bottom and working up is a good thing. Very few of them have a part time job and seem to expect to be given a job on 18 grand a year. There are issues with literacy, a basic literacy and numeracy qualification would help some of these pupils so much more especially with the governmnet saying they are going to have to resit until they get it.

~ What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people?
Just generally how they come back to school, feeling more grown up and responsible. I have seen girls, who spend more time on their hair and make up than homework, shoveling manure at a local farm! It is their first experience of succeeding at something without their parents or school to help them.

~ How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement?
Give them something to be responsible for. Our student love a project and seeing results, they get so much from seeing the outcome of their work rather than just be used as free labour

LoopyLobster Sat 07-Dec-13 11:44:55

If I solved youth unemployment I'd want more than a voucher - a Nobel prize or a knighthood at the very least.

But anyway...

~ What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?
Many, too many to list in a short forum entry. The same factors affecting unemployment across the board - lack of information, encouragement, clear pathways. Fear. Also lack of practical skills and unpaid placements.

~ What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people?
A friend from very posh school and stupidly privileged life was bin man for work experience. He claims that was his first glimpse of the real world. Similarly, for another person I know, expectations that factory work would be the pinnacle of her career changed after her work experience with an architect.
Lots of young people don't have any insight into the world of work. I'd like to see annual placements from year 8/9 ideally, so they get a better range.

~ How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement?
The biggie is ICT. A lot of young people have skills that just aren't present in an older work force. They are much better placed sorting out websites, social networking and clever marketing strategies than sweeping up cut hair and making tea.

Theimpossiblegirl Sat 07-Dec-13 16:46:27

I'm Primary but will pass it on to a couple of friends who in secondary. I think the biggest barriers are lack of opportunity and a living wage for young people. If they can never envisage being able to earn enough to leave home, buy or rent a property, run a car etc. there won't be enough motivation. I really feel for young people today, we need more training and placement opportunities but with real job prospects at the end.

itsnothingoriginal Mon 09-Dec-13 14:44:12

Surely one of the major barriers is the lack of quality careers advice and guidance in schools. The Careers Service in England has been all but decimated through cuts and most services are extremely patchy. Young people need quality and impartial careers guidance now as never before - provided by qualified and impartial Careers Advisers who are fully aware of ALL the options available and with good links to employers.

I feel that under Gove this issue is never going to be taken seriously, meanwhile a generation of young people miss out on a key opportunity to gain the right skills and advice about their future.

A good careers service would build up links with employers, offer real advice about the world of work and the skills employers are looking for. Ultimately, young people need to be empowered to understand their own skills and abilities in order to progress into a job/career. Many lack the self awareness required to understand how relevant skills need to be gained and developed in order to make them employable.

Curioushorse Mon 09-Dec-13 14:59:00

My answers will be based on my experience of helping students from an inner London Comprehensive get work experience placements/ internships.

~What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?

For my students there are several:
- lack of knowledge. They don't actually know what jobs are out there. They have really only heard of teaching, medicine, accountancy and engineering. In their minds, there aren't really any other jobs. They want to be able to say 'they are a profession'. Something their parents have heard of.

-low aspirations. As most of their parents are working-class, or sub working class, they don't actually meet people who have jobs which earn much above minimum wage, therefore they don't know about the opportunities.

-fear of the unknown. Most of the students are scared of what's out there. I organised a careers day at one point, and Cambridge university gave a particularly good presentation. At one point, however, I could just see the students zoning out one by one and couldn't figure out why. At the end of the presentation, when Cambridge had gone, I asked my students what the problem was. They replied, 'But they're all posh white people, miss. It's not for us'.

-low qualifications and opportunities. I've been shocked in the past year by quite how poor some of our students are. As a school with too many students for the amount of space, we decided to let our sixth formers go home when they didn't have lessons, as the common room was too small. As my office was there, however, I was aware that students weren't doing this and couldn't understand why. Upon quizzing some of them, it became clear that although we considered the common room cramped, dark, noisy and horrid.......there were at least tables, chairs and heat. Not something all the students had at home.

-adaptability. It is very clear that we have no idea what jobs are going to be out there in the future. How do we know if we're preparing students correctly for them or giving them the right advice for careers that don't even exist yet?

~ What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people?

It can and does change lives. I've witnessed that on many occasions. A couple of examples:

1. The 'lazy, entitled, element'. Every single year teachers have problems with Year 10 students. It's a year until their GCSEs, so they don't really feel like they have to work. In my current school, however, during work experience, there are always a load of 'sackings' in which students who are too lazy, disruptive, or disrespectful are sacked from their work experience placements. This is always, actually a godsend. I actually don't know if it's school policy to have a quick word with some of the placements and hint that this might be a good idea, but when the predictable students are sent back to school they are always made to come in. They are also then made to do some pretty dreadful jobs, whilst wearing their school uniform. They are always humiliated and subdued. It changes their lives because they realise that behaving the way they do at school will definitely lead to them getting a rough deal in life. They usually then start working notiecably harder.

2. While I've seen several individual cases, one that sticks in my mind happened about three years ago. It was not actually work experience, but just taking students who'd done well in their Media course to visit The Times for a day to see how it all worked. One of the chosen boys had had his place on the trip 'engineered' by the teachers. He wasn't quite as deserving, but was extremely difficult in all other lessons apart from Media and had a very difficult home life (lived in hostel accommodation etc.). When he got on the tube to cross London, it was immediately obvious that this was his first time, as he attached himself to me and suddenly became very quiet and shy. As we got off the tube and walked towards the offices, he was just craning his neck looking round open-mouthed at everything. By the time we walked into the building, he was beaming with delight. I thought he'd have a fit when reception gave him his pre-printed name badge.

The people at The Times were lovely and he was over-awed to see the environment. It was very, very clear that he was impressed by the idea of an office and had never seen one.

Although I suspect he'd never read a copy of the newspaper until that point, I got the librarian to send down old copies for him after they were finished with for him to take home. I regularly saw him proudly carrying them off each day.

Michael was a very 'cool' kid who had been in a lot of trouble with the police. He won't go on to be a famous journalist (he'd probably have to get rid of his neck tattoo first. Sigh), but I definitely believe that that trip is the reason he wasn't permanently excluded from our school. He had seen a different way of life and quite fancied it.

He wasn't allowed to remain at our school for the sixth form (behaviour was too poor), but he went somewhere else and I understand that he's gone on to university this year. For him that is a massive success story. I put it all down to that day in The Times offices.

~ How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement?

As people have said upthread, the big one is ICT. Their awareness is far ahead of most adults, as shown by the fact that no computing courses at school can really keep abreast of the students!

Innovation and gaps. Students are good at spotting these.

Energy and enthusiasm. Students are young and eager. They do love a challenge and love to feel like they're actually helping.

..........................however, if this question means 'what can we give students to do on work experience?' I would definitely go down the project route. Something open-ended and grounded in reality, so that it gives them a genuine experience with the scope for gifted students to do really well. Many adults dealing with WE students often have to spend way too long helping them, without also really understanding how to help them. Projects would be a self-contained solution.

sashh Sun 15-Dec-13 11:33:47

One barrier I have noticed that some of my students haven't is that they don't value skills they have learned out side the classroom.

For example, helping a student with her CV

Me: Why don't you put your languages on your CV
student: I don't have any
Me: You told me your parents don't speak English
student:My dad does but my mum and gran don't
Me: So what do you speak with them?
student:Urdu with my gran and Punjabi with my mum
Me: So put them on your CV
student:But I don't have any qualifications in them, and I can't write Urdu
Me: so put spoken and written Punjabi, spoken Urdu

Similar conversations were had with about a dozen students. These were students on BTEC Health and Social care courses wanting to be nurses or wanting to work in care homes where their languages would be an asset and more useful than the GCSE grade G French.

Things are so focused on tests / exams / qualifications that it doesn't occur to them that skills they have acquired other than in school are useful.

flow4 Sun 15-Dec-13 23:43:08

I'm a qualified and experienced teacher in further/higher/adult education, rather than schools. I've worked particularly with adult 'returners to learning', who failed at school - or who were failed by school. I also have a son who became very disengaged from school, so I have spent a lot of time thinking about those young people who are badly served by our current education system - who of course are more likely to be the ones who are later unemployed and unemployable...

What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?
Our national curriculum is currently offering very little to young people who learn through doing, rather than sitting still and listening. The focus is on exams and what used to be called 'book learning', rather than practical skills. All the most practical subjects are being squeezed or have vanished, and 'academic' subjects are most highly valued. This means that young people who are practical 'doers' have repeated experience in school of struggling and failing - and many leave school with damaged self-confidence as well as few/no qualifications, believing they are failures. Some of these also already have a history of being 'in trouble', which is basically rooted in the fact that they were expected to 'sit still and listen' rather than being offered learning opportunities that suited them. These young people are left alienated and frustrated, which makes them unfit for work and is bad for our society generally.

Best stories - My own son's 2 weeks of work experience in year 10 were the best two years of his school life. At school, he had a reputation for messing about, clowning, disrupting and generally being a nuisance. He was in trouble a lot and under-achieving, and hated everything about school apart from the social life. We secured him a work placement with a local construction firm, where I knew some of the staff and directors. He 'stepped up', took the work seriously, and worked hard enough that the boss slipped him a cash bonus at the end of the fortnight. It gave him a brief but absolutely crucial sense that he was not a total failure and waste of space - which was what school led him to believe - and made him realise that he actually liked working hard, if only he could find things he wanted to do.

cory Tue 17-Dec-13 08:25:12

Listening to friends, internships are a bit of a problem too.

It's all very well to say young people should be prepared to start at the bottom and work their way up but how can they do that on no money unless they have a rich mummy and daddy? Particularly if taking the offer would mean moving away from home.

I know a very clever graduate, with excellent foreign language skills, who is not able to get anything other than unqualified work because she can't afford to work and live for no pay.

So instead she is taking a job for somebody with fewer qualifications.

I don't think it's only young people who are entitled: some bosses seem pretty entitled too, expecting to get work for nothing and not having to pay for staff development. In the olden days, when people worked their way up from office boy, it was understood that the bosses would, to some extent, be funding that by at least providing office boy wages. These days, employers want it on a plate.

SarahJessicaFarter Tue 17-Dec-13 12:08:33

Firstly my contribution to this is as a tutor of young people leaving school and joining the workplace via apprenticeships. So I am essentially dealing with these children after they have left school.

~ What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?

They don't always have a realistic grasp of how the workplace operates. Work experience is essential while they are at school. Building on this work experience in their school should also be a priority. I would start with work/office type simulations. Plan an event where the year group form a company and have to operate as that workplace for a few days in school. They would have to plan and work to budgets, dress appropriately, chair and attend meetings,take minutes etc etc. Simulate a normal work environment.

~ What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people?

Work experience builds confidence. The very best part of my job is watching that 16/17/18 year old child, grow, develop and mature into really lovely adults. They learn how key skills (literacy, numeracy and ICT) are important and they understand how to apply them in the workplace. They want to be viewed as adults and taken seriously by their colleagues.

~ How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement.

They are fresh, brimming with ideas and knowledge of how their age group views the market. An office simulator before work experience would give them insight and confidence to "join in" and be part of that work environment.

There are downsides to the apprenticeship scheme, but along with internships if the employers are properly monitored, informed and the young people protected then it should be are warding experience. The govt has removed so muchfunding for apprenticeships that ultimately they may become scarce. That is a tragedy. Likewise, apprenticeship should be open to graduates. They need to gain practical qualifications as well as academic.

SarahJessicaFarter Tue 17-Dec-13 12:11:23

I should also add that many of my students are bright, interesting and clever in many different ways. But school has failed to see tht potential or to channel their abilities. It's very sad but our education system is biased towards academic results not contribution to society.

Sparklesandglitter Fri 20-Dec-13 19:13:55

~ What do you feel the barriers are for young people entering the world of work?
The fact that work experience is no longer for all pupils means some pupils have no experiences of work. I also think that pupils get too many chances that they won't get in the workplace like extensions on deadlines.

~ What are your best stories of how work experience can help young people?
Work experience can give pupils a more realistic outlook on what workplaces expect, in the terms if effort, behaviour and commitment

~ How do you think your students could help businesses when they head out for a work placement?
By giving businesses a fresh outlook on life and the business. By providing new skills and new energy in to businesses.

unquietmind Sun 29-Dec-13 23:55:53

I am a parent and I work in cyp services but not in education.


So so many. Too many to list. In my experience children whohave other needs miss out whether its related to a disability, learning need, health issue or intervention by a service such as social services. That's not to say there are not parents and support teams doing a great job but the narrative of "oh, you are this [Insert label] so you cant do this ior that" which is insidious in so much of our society even if we try to stamp it out.

Another barrier is low socio economic status. My experience of this is when I adopted my children in their preteens and they had not experienced working parents, any family members who achieved either academic work or personal success and they simply had no idea that people can work, achieve more or even do something interesting to them. I was in despair that they had no aspirations. Now there is progress with them but its been a long hard slog and its hard to undo many years of thinking school is only mandatory and not useful. All the children have been impacted by their early experiences developmentally as well as socially and in my personal experience they were not encouraged in a secondary setting where they did the minimum needed to not be in trouble, they were not offered useful opportunities as they were not bookish and they spent time thinking its rmcdonalds etc with no one opening their eyes to more

Job snobbery and reverse snobbery also annoys me. Kids either end up thinking they are better than some jobs but also some kids think that academic or specific jobs are somehow pretentious and either by others or themselves they become excluded from the area. E.g. women's hour power list is great to inspire women but what are the main demographics of radio 4 listeners-are the messages getting to all?


unquietmind Mon 30-Dec-13 00:06:58

Barriers cont.

I also worry that by making things so pupil led that young people will struggle to for in the world of work and its ferocious expectations. E.g. when my dc went on work experience in a shop he came back proudly on the 4th day to tell me that the manager had told them to hoover the shop floor and my dc refused on the basis that 'if i wanted work experience as a cleaner i would have chosen it' 'its shop work not cleaning' and 'my teacher told me not to do anything i felt uncomfortable with'. I cannot tell you how thoroughly embarrassed i was and what i said to him but it made me hang my proletarian head. My other dc told me he wont get a job until hes qualified as the jobs dont pay enough for him to put up with it. these attitudes scare me and i dont think theres enough advice for parents to help their kids transition to adulthood if they are not going away to study and learn about life that way.

Work experience

Its brilliant but its sadly under used. I think that kids could benefit from 2 experience s one they want to do and one where they learn about life negotiation teams etc in a less cosy environment. The earlier bin man example was great

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 07-Jan-14 12:30:28

thanks for all the posts etc. Am pleased to say princesssugar wins the £200 JL voucher.

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