A year-long trailblazing project has drawn to an end at Developing the Young Workforce.
Positive Futures was a collaborative project between DYW Moray & North East, focused on communicating and engaging with employers and young people to accelerate the work of Developing the Young Workforce.
The year-long project set out to discover how employers and young people viewed youth employability in Moray and the North East and address the findings with a positive narrative, highlighting opportunities and support.
“The Positive Futures project has been a valuable experience that has given us a deeper understanding of our environment in which we work, as well as creating a richer way of communicating with our audiences." Margo Milne, director · DYW North East
It had three stages: an initial research study, followed by three campaigns and then the creation of a library of assets and resources to boost the ongoing work of the organisations.
The research unearthed some interesting findings. Contrary to expectations, both employers and young people see the regions as suitable places to work, study and train. However It also found a disparity between young people and employers’ perceptions of entering the world of work, as well as a lack of awareness of apprenticeships.
These findings guided the campaigning part of the project, which encouraged employers to sign up to a national commitment to support young people, the Young Person’s Guarantee.
Subsequent campaigns targeted young people with the value attached to taking a Foundation Apprenticeship at school. The research had identified anxiety and a lack of confidence among the current generation as well as a concern about lacking work experience, so these were put forward as a potential solution. A campaign highlighting the benefits of mentoring, flagging relevant regional resources, had a similar aim.
Meanwhile, a library of resources was being created, making sure the project left a lasting legacy for the important work DYW does.
These new assets were designed to fit the employment landscape and the direction of industry, with templates and processes in place for team going forward.
As well as online articles for campaigns, the material was turned into case studies and testimonials.
From quotes from local employers about the value of working with young people, to case studies of successful and enduring school-business partnerships, these can be used in future engagement campaigns.
There was an emphasis on producing multimedia, particularly short videos for social media, as well as longer informative interviews and compilations. These are aimed at employer engagement, as well as deepening young people’s understanding of the workplace and different sectors.
Sector videos showcased positive destination pathways that challenged young people’s and key influencers’ perceptions about the range of pathways and opportunities available to them, both vocational and educational. These were in line with the key growth sectors including digital, energy, health and life sciences, construction, tourism and food & drink.
DYW North East director Margo Milne said: “The Positive Futures project has been a valuable experience that has given us a deeper understanding of our environment in which we work, as well as creating a richer way of communicating with our audiences.
"It has also established a framework for effective future collaborations between DYW organisations. One of the aims was to lay the foundations for our two regions to design a sustainable more collaborative model, in line with the national DYW approach.
"In addition, we employed a Modern Apprentice to work on the project team, allowing us to offer a fairly unique work experience while tapping into the talent of our future workforce.
"The overarching aim however was to offer reassurance and reinforce the message that there is a positive future for young people in our regions.
"And the Positive Futures project has given us a greater understanding of the barriers facing young people and employers, which can be incorporated into DYW strategy moving forward.”