In 2015, West Yorkshire’s Talent Match partnership were doing a great job in supporting long-term unemployed young people across the county, but they had identified that the lack of young people’s involvement in making decisions about the work of the programme was a weakness in an otherwise great partnership. So we were asked to help young people in Talent Match have a voice in deciding how the programme should develop.
Working with hundreds of young people in Talent Match, we invited everyone to tell us their story and share their ideas about what would make their programme better. Those who wanted to get more involved became Talent Match Ambassadors and quickly started to find creative solutions to their own problems and, with our support, launched a rolling-programme of social activities, relevant training, workshops and residentials that has seen the Ambassador group play a vital role in securing the future of Talent Match in the region.
The powerful video that Ambassadors made to make a case for another 5 years of Talent Match and their lead in designing a blueprint for the future that was based on their learning and experience of being part of the scheme, were critical factors in the Big Lottery granting West Yorkshire one of only 4 approvals in the country for a 5-year extension. Big Lottery assessors noted how far young people’s involvement in running the programme had come in such a short time and praised our skill and commitment to participation.