Greater Manchester Talent Match

GMCVO was the lead partner in Greater Manchester Talent Match - a Big Lottery-funded programme bringing together the private, public and voluntary sectors to support young people aged 18-24 who had not been in employment, education or training for twelve months or more. The programme, which ran between 2013 and 2018, built from the premise that young people had talent which could be developed to the point of employment.

A personalised package of support enabled 2,000 participants to progress along a pathway towards work lasting up to 24 months. This support was provided by Talent Coaches – key workers drawn from frontline organisations that understood the challenges faced by young people in their communities. Our Coaches helped over 600 young people into employment.

The Greater Manchester Talent Match partnership directly challenged negative perceptions young people and employers had of each other and built strong, practical relationships across the skills supply-demand divide. Our Youth Panel worked as a team to support with the planning, design and, most importantly, the evaluation of Greater Manchester Talent Match.  All Youth Panel members had at some point experienced barriers to employment.

Greater Manchester Talent Match was delivered by a cross-sector partnership, which included young people who had experienced barriers to employment themselves

WATCH: How we made a difference – A timeline of Greater Manchester Talent Match

Why did we do it?

GMCVO firmly believed that VCSE organisations were best-placed to engage and support young people with multiple barriers to employment. Our strong reputation in the practical testing of new ideas, combined with our regional strategic leverage would ensure that relevant learning would be embedded in future skills and employment policy.

What did we learn?

We didn’t just listen to what young people were telling us, we championed co-production and created opportunities for our Youth Panel to lead on commissioning, campaigning, interviewing, and improving relationships with the Jobcentre.

GM Talent Match’s community-based approach to identifying and engaging young people, revealed growing numbers of hidden young people: young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and not claiming any benefits. Over 25% of the beneficiaries on the programme were hidden and our research revealed over 21,000 hidden young people living in Greater Manchester.

We learnt why hidden young people do not seek or receive welfare support, how to best engage with them and what support would appeal to, and be effective for them.

Through trialing new and innovative methods of employer engagement we learned the immense value of bringing employers and young people face-to-face. We also helped employers recognise where and how they could make adjustments to their recruitment practices and develop quality and accessible opportunities.

What happened as a result?

Our learning around hidden young people has directly influenced regional policy. As a result of our published research and dialogue with Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), support for hidden young people is now included in the GM Strategy Implementation Plan.  

With the numbers of hidden young people in GM continuing to rise we were determined to continue our employment support offer beyond the end of GM Talent Match.

In January 2019, GMCVO secured funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and GMCA to deliver a new two-year programme working exclusively with hidden young people.

In January 2019, GMCVO secured funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and GMCA to deliver a new two-year programme working exclusively with hidden young people. Find out more about it here.

How can you get involved?

This project has now ended. You can read the critical learning reports in the reports section below.