Wandsworth Youth Enterprise Summit

Last week saw the Youth Enterprise Summit 2016 take place at South Thames College. The event aims to help those under 30 from disadvantaged backgrounds make a success of self-employment, and follows the successful 2014 Summit.

While unemployment as a whole has fallen sharply in recent years, now standing at just 5%, it remains at a much higher rate amongst younger people, with one out of seven young people unemployed. This is primarily due to the lower skills and experience that young job-seekers have.

As the economy’s structure changes and self-employment increases faster than the number of traditional jobs, younger workers need to be prepared and helped to make the most of this opportunity. 

The event was chaired by Dan Watkins, a local Conservative campaigner for helping young people into work, and organised by Tooting charity Business Launchpad alongside their new Youth Leadership Panel, which provides free mentoring for young entrepreneurs.

The Summit had in attendance over 30 organisations, including local schools and colleges, housing associations, faith groups, local authorities, rehabilitation charities and jobs agencies, all of whom work to help young people into self-employment in the Wandsworth area. 

Speaking at the Summit, Dan Watkins said:

‘Reducing unemployment is crucial for social justice, since worklessness is associated with so many of society’s ills – poverty, poor health, social isolation and crime. So the reward is huge for both the individuals concerned and the broader community if we can help more of our young people make the journey to starting a business.

By pooling contacts and the huge wealth of knowledge here today, we are much better placed to cross-refer young people to the right service for them, and have been able to develop new ideas for future projects.’ 

Launching the Business Launchpad Business Basics Course, Stuart Thomason, CEO, said:

“In times of austerity, the only way to help young people meet the challenges they face is to collaborate - to share resources and expertise to create sustainable solutions to social problems. Our new Business Basics course, for example, will deliver technical training for new businesses in the areas of Money, Marketing and Management and will hugely benefit from collaborations.”