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Addressing the issue of disadvantaged youth seeking work

Hollywood, Emma; Egdell, Valerie; McQuaid, Ronald W


Emma Hollywood

Valerie Egdell

Ronald W McQuaid


UK policy on unemployment and employability in recent decades has been driven by the view that work remains the best route out of poverty for most people. Employment activation policy has taken a ‘work first’ approach, aiming to place individuals in jobs rather than promoting their capability to choose the work that they have reason to value. This paper focuses on disadvantaged young people, aged 16-25 years, making the transition from unemployment to employment. Specifically, it examines how 2 Third sector developed and operated programmes in Scotland attempt to enhance young peoples’ capabilities for work, voice and education and partly move away from ‘work-first’ approaches to employment activation. The study comprised semi-structured interviews with managers, project workers and young people in ‘Bernardo’s Works’ run by Barnardo’s and ‘Get Into’ run by the Prince’s Trust. The findings show that these programmes, although focused on getting young people into employment, are more than job placement schemes as they seek to address those wider issues that prevent many young people entering and progressing in work such as confidence, lack of aspirations, lack of work experience, in addition to issues such as health and housing. These programmes can be seen as focusing on promoting the individual capabilities of disadvantaged, unemployed youth to choose the work that they have reason to value.


Hollywood, E., Egdell, V., & McQuaid, R. W. (2012). Addressing the issue of disadvantaged youth seeking work. Social work & society, 10,

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2012
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2012
Print ISSN 1613-8953
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Keywords capacity building; employment; training; voluntary organisations; young adults; young people;
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