Monday, November 14, 2011

Voice Is Power — Birmingham’s Young People’s Parliament

Voice Is Power is the formal citywide forum for children and young people in Birmingham. It is for anybody who lives in Birmingham and is under 19 years old.

VIP aims to stand up for all Children and Young People, and to link views together. There are lots of ways for you to share your views and get involved.

They are supported by key decision makers, so your views can influence decisions and changes. Find out more at

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Teenage magazines in Birmingham’s public libraries

Did you know that many libraries in the city have teenage magazines which you can borrow? Each library has chosen its own titles depending on the interests of the young people in the area. So whether you're mad on football or music, fashion or computer games you may well find something there for you...

Why not tell them which magazines you’d like to borrow by filling in the form at Your comment will be sent to your local Birmingham library and will help to inform staff when they are choosing magazine subscriptions.

Want to know more about Birmingham’s great public library service, or find your local library? Go to

FILTER - a new way to find things to do...

FILTER is a new website for young people in Birmingham. is all about things going on in Birmingham. Search for events and get details of hundreds of activities, projects and showcases for arts, sports and heritage, all across the city.

Monday, November 7, 2011

In Year 8 or 9 and thinking about your options choice?

In Year 9 you will be making a choice about which subjects to study in Years 10 and 11. At some schools, you may be making these choices in Year 8 and then studying your chosen subjects from Year 9 onwards. You will need to choose which GCSE subjects you want to take and, depending on what your school offers, you may have a choice of other courses as well. There are some compulsory subjects that you have to study and other optional subjects that you can take because you enjoy them or need them for your career plans. You’ve got some important decisions to make, but you’ll also have lots of help and support to make your choice. Our website has a complete section on Year 8/9 Options and it has just been fully updated — take a look at how it can help you with understanding your options, finding out more, and making your decision.

Common Purpose Young Million Workshops

Saving a generation of young unemployed talent in Birmingham

There are nearly one million unemployed young people in the UK and from August 2010 to August 2011 youth unemployment in Birmingham rose by 2,052 to 15,291 bringing the percentage of young people who are unemployed to 24.7%. This is the highest percentage of any city in the UK.

There are many initiatives that exist to help unemployed young people find a job, yet few that offer the training and development opportunities they would have received from employers, if they were in work.

This is why international leadership development organisation Common Purpose has started the Young Million campaign , to offer some of the unemployed young people of Birmingham, and across the UK, the same opportunity to develop their leadership skills as those who have a job.

Within two days of sharing the idea with 30,000 of their alumni in the UK, Common Purpose had raised enough donations to run the first two workshops.

Sir David Bell, non-executive director of The Economist, said:
“The rise in youth unemployment shames us all and could potentially damage the UK economy. But there are concrete things we can do to stop this awful waste of young talent and young lives and we must do them.”

Louise Teboul, Midlands Operations Director, said:
“Birmingham has one of the youngest population profiles of any European city, so this is a really critical issue for the future success of the city. This has really touched a nerve with our Common Purpose alumni in Birmingham and they have been very generous with their time and money, so we’re really pleased that we can launch our first Young Million course in Birmingham. We hope that it will make a real difference to some of our unemployed youngsters.”

The workshop will run on three separate days, 23 November, 30 November and 8 December, and can take up to 50 participants. Each applicant should be:

  • Aged 18-25 at date of application
  • Currently unemployed and not in full time education
  • Actively looking for employment
  • Resident in the United Kingdom

Applicants must have the desire or potential to be a leader. They can demonstrate this through their family, community, work or academic achievement, through current activities or responsibilities and community roles, or through nomination from a friend, family member or colleague.

Common Purpose are still seeking donations, both financial (£100 will fund one young person to take part) and in-kind (venues and speakers).

To donate or apply, visit Young Million: Common Purpose
or contact Common Purpose on 0121 625 3269.

For further information please contact:
Louise Teboul or Heather Truepenny
Operations Director Senior Course Manager
T: +44 (0)121 625 3269 T: +44 (0)121 625 3269
M: +44 (0) 7961 556 378 M: +44 (0) 7961 556 378

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Achieving Against the odds

Cities for Active Inclusion  held a conference about employment for Young People on  the 5th of October.

Two of the young People, that Connexions Birmingham have helped,  delivered a presentation form their point of view about what worked and what didn’t. They ( Nathaliea and Letitia) stole the show with their honesty, humour and directness.
There were a lot of delegates from all over the country and from public, private and third sector -- all with a stake in improving employability and employment opportunities for young people. In that respect it was quite tough, but I think we gave a good account of what we do and how we do it.

  • Key points from the young people:
  • They benefit from professionals who 'stay around'  - ie sustained and consistent service.
  •  They need more opportunities to do work experience.
  • They need to feel its ok try things out - ie don't be afraid to fail.
  • Young people should be encouraged to create their own opportunities - ie be innovative (the Princes Trust is a key player in facilitating this)
  •  The apprenticeship minimum wage is not a living wage if you live independently ( my 'in-work calculation' slide  was a triumph! )
  •  The job centre and current benefit system does not enable young people to better themselves or get out of the benefit system.
  •  Lack of internet access is a real problem for many YPs from vulnerable groups.
  • YPs want more opportunities to find out about different types of work and see what's out there.
  • YPs have a lot of good skills in communication, leadership and team work (social networking and the recent riots were given as examples) . These skills need to  be acknowledged and channelled into EET opportunities.

A recurring theme that came out through out the day was a general feeling that institutions, organisations and agencies are not moving quickly enough to change: 'Act, think, behave differently' .   This is why the problems with youth unemployment and under achievement (particularly with vulnerable groups) does not go away. It was suggested by a delegate that if practitioners and service users had a part in the decision making things might change more quickly.