Breaking down the barriers in Greater Manchester

October 10 2017  —  by Joe Rawlinson, Campaigns & Research Coordinator


Many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face multiple barriers to employment. From having a disability to fulfilling caring responsibilities, the compound effect of these barriers mean that for these young people finding a job is even more difficult. 

To tackle this issue, this month, we hosted an employer workshop in Manchester, kindly hosted by DWF, and supporter by Greater Manchester Talent Match, focusing on how we can work together to make recruitment processes more accessible for young people who face multiple barriers to work. The event was well attended by over 40 delegates.

To begin with, we heard from Greater Manchester Talent Match about the different ways they are supporting local young people to move into employment. This included support that employers could offer such as work experience placements, pre-employment workshops, mock interviews, and workplace visits. They also discussed the Talent Match Mark; a new youth employment accreditation designed to promote best practice among employers and to signal to applicants which employers are dedicated to supporting their young employees.

After this, the group heard case studies from GPL Group, Marks & Spencer’s, and DWF on what they are currently doing to make their recruitment process more accessible and get more young people into their business. This included fully integrating apprenticeship programmes into their business, working with charity partners, and removing jargon from their job descriptions.

Our employer delegates then took part in an interactive group exercise; where they looked at how they could modify their own recruitment processes if they found that care leavers were performing poorly at the interview stage of the hiring process.

Their top suggestions for making the interviews more accessible for care leavers were:

  1. Changing the dynamic of job interviews and making them less formal

  2. Group interviews as opposed to 1:1

  3. Targeting care leavers with pre-employability training, specifically interview practice

  4. Focussing on a young persons’ passions at interview rather than their skills and experience

  5. Encouraging young people not to give ‘stock answers’ at interview


Joe Rawlinson