JCI members empower teens and young adults by teaching employment best practices and how to get a job.
Interested in making a local impact through the JCI Active Citizen Framework, JCI London began a community needs analysis that unveiled some startling statistics as well as a need for immediate, concrete action.
Newham, a neighborhood of London, is the sixth most disadvantaged borough in the United Kingdom. Sixty-nine percent of Newham’s children are members of low-income families and 55.7 percent of families live below the poverty line, one of the highest rates in London. In 2008 and 2009, Newham had a very low employment rate of 56.2 percent, about 6.5 percent below the average employment rate for the rest of London. In 2007, Newham had the third highest rate of children being affected by income deprivation in the nation.
This research and needs analysis formed the foundation of a project that addresses the true needs of the community and attacks the root of the unemployment problem. Based on the facts, JCI London members asked themselves, “How can we provide a solution for the educated young adults of Newham to find jobs and help support themselves and their families? How can we use our power as young active citizens to help the people of Newham begin to overcome poverty and unemployment in the long-term?”
Forming Partnerships and Taking Action
JCI London partnered with Landmark Training, a local training provider that specializes in working with young people to deliver vocational training. Through this partnership, JCI members provided a one-day training session focusing on the résumé building and interview skills needed to obtain a job. JCI London members learned the importance of having a strong partnership to turn their solution into a reality.
Ten local students between the ages of 14 and 24 participated in this training session with Landmark and the JCI member volunteers. Each JCI member became a mentor to one of students after the training session ended. Providing sustained mentorship to the teens throughout the job-search process is an integral part of the project to reduce the high unemployment rate in Newham.
Evaluating Results for Sustainability
JCI London members evaluated the results of their project by giving feedback forms to the students to fill out after the training session. During JCI President Bertolt Daems’ visit to London February 9, 2012, students spoke about their experience and gave updates regarding their job search. Mentors follow up with their trainees every few months, which allows the mentor to step in and provide a solution if one of the students encounters challenges during their search or once they start working. Frequent contact between student and mentor allows the impact of the project to carry on well beyond the one-day training session.
JCI United Kingdom members are planning additional training sessions so more youth in the area can benefit from this valuable instruction. Based on the evaluations from participants, the program will be altered to improve the outcome for each teen when necessary. By sustaining the partnerships and having dedicated JCI members perform their mentor duties, this project will continue to help local youths overcome poverty in the future.
Thank you to 2012 JCI United Kingdom National President Solveig Malvik and JCI United Kingdom National Board Website Manager and Local Chamber Community Director Dimiteri Soraya Bowen for providing information for this article.
For more information on how JCI members are creating positive change in their communities, visit the JCI Project Gallery.