On October 11th, Greater Manchester Talent Match hosted the Still Hidden conference at The Monastery in Gorton.
Still Hidden marked the culmination of the five-year programme and an opportunity to share learning – with the primary aim of influencing future local and national youth employment programmes
The day also served as a platform to launch the Still Hidden report - the programme’s second piece of research focused on hidden young people (young people who are not in employment, education or training and not claiming benefits).
The day was book-ended by speeches from Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, and Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston and member of the Learning and Work Institute Youth Commission.
Dawn Austwick’s address highlighted the success of Talent Coaches, praising their emotional resilience and ability to create trusting relationships with young people
Kate Green focused on the opportunity to make lasting changes for long-term unemployed young people across Greater Manchester.
She said: “Everyone should have the right to good and meaningful work. I think Talent Match is a fabulous programme that enables that right to become a reality.
“I hope that GM Talent Match will get more money to continue some of its fabulous work, but, we know that it’s not just down to them. Our employers here in Greater Manchester have a big role to play - offering the best chances and opportunities to vulnerable young adults.
“The devolution settlement gives the Mayor of the Combined Authority power over skills and industrial strategy. There is a real chance here to make sure that our skills and industrial strategies work for these vulnerable but exceptional young people.”
A morning panel debated the prominence of youth voice in governance and organisational decision-making, whilst an afternoon panel examined the issues brought to light by the Still Hidden report.
A menu of breakout session workshops offered delegates the chance to learn more about specific aspects of GM Talent Match’s work.
Reflecting on the event, Katherine Bird, GM Talent Match Programme Manager, said: “The Still Hidden conference really drove home how much of difference Talent Match had made to the lives of young people.
“It’s been a test and learn process, and admittedly we’ve had to adapt our approach along the way. But, whether it be our or success in linking local employers to youth workers in the VCSE sector, or our determination to have young people shape the way we work, we have found approaches that unquestionably work for young people furthest from employment.
“As has been the case throughout the programme, we had representation from on the day from a truly diverse range of stakeholders. Solving youth unemployment in Greater Manchester is a cross-sector responsibility and all attendees have a role to play forward.
“I’d like to again thank our fantastic panellists for their contributions this would not have been possible.