New action research report launches in Westminster, highlighting employment support needs for young people aged 18-25 in North Paddington
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the advent of the North Paddington Programme, Paddington Development Trust, Westminster Council and Young Westminster Foundation collaborated in jointly commissioning the research behind
The report aims to provide greater insight into the disconnect between young job seekers in North Paddington (defined as the electoral wards of Westbourne, Harrow Road and Queen’s Park in the northwest of Westminster) and the labour market on their doorstep. Many of the findings will be relevant to other neighbourhoods suffering similar levels of exclusion around the City of Westminster.
The action research heard directly from 18-25s in North Paddington and how they need to be supported to become economically independent. The research was conducted between late January to May 2023 and engaged 78 18–25-year-olds living in and around the three wards of interest (Westbourne, Harrow Road and Queen’s Park). Responses to an online survey informed further inquiry through four Focus Groups and two 1-1 interviews.
In addition to a wide literature review (see bibliography), interviews were held with 20 providers and professionals in the field (see appendix 1)
Training on methodology was provided by the University of Westminster, and four students were recruited and trained as peer researchers with specialist training provided in thematic analysis to ensure an objective appraisal of the results (Clarke, 2013).
The report reflects on the common themes emerging from the research, highlighting gaps for further investigation, and makes recommendations to stakeholders on how best to respond to young adult’s calls for help.
The research is a hyper-local deep dive as part of Young Westminster Foundation’s wider needs analysis Our City, Our Future 2023, investigating the experiences of Under 25’s growing up in Westminster
Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North, said: “What we usually talk about when we talk about employment is numbers. How many vacancies are there? How many jobseekers? Who is on benefits and how quickly can we move them off? What this study reminds me of is what we should be talking about: the individuals behind the numbers. For each person who may be struggling to find their path will have their own characteristics, vulnerabilities and experiences and will need tailored support to get them back on track. Some may have had a specific obstacle to overcome – a health issue, a youthful brush with the criminal justice system. For others the system is simply too difficult to navigate without trusted advice. Our city, our economy, our community, needs these young adults’ contribution. It is not just for their benefit that we need to invest in them – it is our own.”
Cllr Geoff Barraclough, Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development at Westminster City Council, said: “Young adult unemployment within the North Paddington area has long been higher than anywhere else in Westminster, despite the myriad job opportunities of central London on our doorstep. However, despite the challenges, we are working with
our partners to reverse the trend and bring positive change. We need to get better at listening to young adults and acting on what they tell us. Leveraging our committed youth workers, experienced VCS partners, Council services and education/skills providers, we want to bring young people, employers, and policy makers closer together so we can deliver a better future for our young adults.”
About the author: Consultant and report author, Fabian Sharp, was Chief Executive of The Avenues Youth Project (2017-2022); he previously designed and led area-renewal programmes in North Paddington and was the initiator of the Queen’s Park Community Council.
Researchers: Beth Ahmed, Walaa Kalam, Amaka Nnaji, Mar Tomas Rocha.
Any questions or would you like to be involved in future roundtables and partnerships in response to these findings? Get in touch with email@example.com