“Talent is shared out fairly. It is just that opportunities aren’t.”

Speakers at youth voice sit on stage and are watched by an audience
19th October 2023

It was great to bring together funders, partners and other charities from across London at City Hall. Our youth and employer panels were passionate, articulate and gave us all a real insight into the challenges and successes of accessing opportunities and attracting talent

Jim Minton, our Chief Executive said:

“We want London to be a city which really listens to its children and young people, and where they have a say on the things that impact on their lives. Skills, jobs, careers and the wider economy are obviously central to that. Young people care passionately about these. In fact, lack of opportunity is seen by many young people as the biggest barrier holding them back – so it’s great we were able to come together to share learnings and find solutions together.

And it is vital that the commitment we make is for the long term – it doesn’t end when programmes end. But instead young people can feel they can draw on the support they need into the future – and that opportunities come at different times and in different life stages: in school the chance to experience work for the first time; and then the chance to do paid internships; to combine study and work; and then progress  into careers.”

Some of the key takeaways from our discussions included:

  • the power of workplace opportunities (e.g. work experience, insight days) in profiling the breadth of jobs on offer in any one particular sector;
  • the onboarding process for entry level roles is key as it reflects on who you are as employer, how you treat your staff and your overall culture;
  • job titles can be deceiving so break down exactly what it means and involves;
  • the lack of stability in today’s economy is leading to young people relying on side hustles to make ends meet;
  • and social media is where talent resides so factor this in.

We would like to thank panel chairs Melissa Dias (Wates Group) and Roni Savage (Jomas Associates and Mayor’s Fund trustee) and to Queren Ngiay (scholar, Seaforth Land), Safa Khan (Senior Intern, Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition), Vivek Lad (Savills), Amina Awais (Thomson reuters and Mayor’s Fund ambassador), Ayodeji Akande (Skills and Employment, GLA), Farrah LaBorde (Seaforth Land), Judith Topley (Jo Cowen Architects) and Stephen Adeoye (beyond Education) for being part of the discussion, as well as to Joss Harrison for opening and closing the event on behalf of our Youth Board.

If you’re an employer wanting to align your work on diversity and inclusion with creating chances for the incredible diversity of experience and talent which young Londoners bring, then take a look at our programmes here or get in touch.