ethos boat with crew

Over lockdown EthosVO.org adapted its peer-to-peer work system so that young adults were able to start socially valuable work quickly and receive a basic income for doing so.

The scheme, called Young Leaders, offers training, development and workplace opportunities to anyone living anywhere in the UK, aged 16 – 24. This is a youth-led solution operated by a team of partners and mentors from within the Ethos group, and partly supported by the UK government’s Kickstart Scheme.

Over lockdown EthosVO.org adapted its peer-to-peer work system so that young adults were able to start socially valuable work quickly and receive a basic income for doing so.

The scheme, called Young Leaders, offers training, development and workplace opportunities to anyone living anywhere in the UK, aged 16 – 24. This is a youth-led solution operated by a team of partners and mentors from within the Ethos group, and partly supported by the UK government’s Kickstart Scheme.

ethos boat with crew

The project is based on the idea that everyone, of every race, sexuality, gender, age and ability, has the right to participate in meaningful and purposeful work and has unique value to add in the workplace. We wanted to create something that unlocks the talent and potential of young people who are struggling to find a job and are the furthest away from the labour market. We want to look beyond defined roles and allow young people to define their own pathways to meaningful work, and to find their hidden talents that might be overlooked. With this we hope to encourage young people to use their full potential and feel empowered and confident about their careers. In short we help them find their ‘why?’.

We organise each cohort of young adults into a ‘community of practice’ or ‘hub’ characterised by mutual and directed support. This includes work packages, work mentoring, skills coaching and wellbeing mentoring.

Within this community, our Young Leaders are given significant scope to organise and form teams, create their own meaningful work, explore new opportunities and outcomes and work in partnership with external third-party organisations (who may become their future employers). These partners provide mentoring, guidance and direction for the work the Young Leaders undertake.

All of our Young Leaders were on Universal Credit and applied through the Kickstart Scheme, and all have benefitted from the opportunity to drive their own work and passion whilst earning a Basic Income. These are people who have through no fault of their own, found themselves struggling financially and have been faced with an unforgiving employment landscape that is dangerously hostile to people with little or no experience in employment. The Young Leaders program was created on the notion that if you gave these people a Basic Income and the opportunity to work on whatever they felt passionate about, they would not only work, but excel.

ETHOS Lifebelt

Stories of transformation through basic income

“2020, I’m out of work, and soon out of a job, struggling to find direction or fulfilment. Furlough became a blessing and a curse – I got a much needed break, but I still lacked the experience to find work in the careers I wanted. After getting on Universal Credit, and applying to Ethos through the Kickstart scheme, things turned around fast. Since starting as a Young Leader, I have been gaining valuable experience in video production and editing, between spearheading my own projects, and taking on opportunities from others. I have been able to do this, while working hours that I decide, often from the comfort of my own bedroom, while taking other film gigs on the side, as my schedule can allow for it now. I have created promo material, tutorials, YouTube content, all giving Ethos an almost unprecedented level of transparency. Given the chance, I would like to take it even further.”

Harry Rae-Smith

Harry Rae-Smith

“Going into applying for Young Leaders was a leap of faith. I was very fed up with the meaningless work I had been doing in call centres and offices for little pay. I had just become redundant from the NHS track and trace position I’d worked for the last 7 months when Young Leaders was recommended to me by my (DWP) work coach. I was welcomed to Ethos with open arms and told I had permission to gate crash as many meetings that week as I could, which I did and very quickly I was hooked. My first month was generally about finding my feet and trying to figure out which projects/work packages I could get involved in where I could actually be of value. Once I was fully settled within Ethos and had a good handle on how things worked I got into business development within the Somerset area where we are doing incredibly meaningful work for 16-18 year olds. The Young Leaders programme continues to be a source of motivation and inspiration and is changing my perception of myself. My life has been incredibly hard, and it previously felt like no matter how hard I worked to move on in life there was always something holding me back. Now I know it’s life experiences that can make a person valuable.”

Ewan Paterson

Ewan Paterson

“Some people would have called me “A Menace To Society” but there was no father figure for me to look up to. That’s why I was being like this – I didn’t have any sense of the world itself. I had police stopping and searching me and it was very hard for me to live a good life while being monitored by the police so they were always trying to find something to arrest me on. I made some bad choices and I sort of got led back to my past life by my peers. Then I…started working with Lyden who is in the Violence Reduction Unit and I’ve ended up working in Ethos as a Youth Leader. I am helping others to not go in the same route as me – or even if they already have they can still change.”

Farah Bashir

Farah Bashir

 

“My journey started when I left a full-time job because of the effect it was having on my mental health. I felt there was no respect for me, that my managers did not trust me and that I had no autonomy or responsibility over my own work. After signing up for universal credit and joining Ethos’ Young Leaders programme, I had energy again! Young Leaders provided me with an opportunity to do what I had always wanted to do – work for an entrepreneurial organisation that focuses on doing good things for people. I joined Ethos as part of the operations team and came up with ways to streamline recruitment processes. Young Leaders has given me the platform and the community to be myself at work which is something that I think is hugely underestimated. My confidence has grown massively and I now have a lot to contribute in the workplace. My mental wellbeing has also been significantly better since starting at Ethos as a Young Leader and I hope to stay with Ethos for the foreseeable future”

Charlotte Kinloch

charlotte kinloch

 

April 2022 marks the final cohort of the DWP funded Kickstart Scheme inductees into Ethos, bringing the total number of Young Leaders who have been involved in the programme to over 60 people. Since the project started in January 2021 we have had three waves of young recruits come through and sample the initial Ethos model of Basic Income, and many of these wonderful people have stayed with us after their 6 month period expired. The rest have gone on to find work in their own areas of interest thanks in part to the skills they were able to explore and cultivate whilst at Ethos.

ETHOS anchor

However, the Kickstart Scheme for us was never the final model of what Ethos believes Basic Income should look like. Indeed we are firm believers in the concept of Universal Basic Income, and as such we are excited to further develop and iterate upon the structures and workflows we have developed over the Kickstart Scheme to further drive more experiments into Basic Income and hopefully provide credence to the idea of UBI.

Notes

Universal Basic Income

More information about Universal Basic Income, visit the website of the UBI Network – a global network of UBI researchers and advocates: https://ubinetwork.org/

Young Leaders Project

For more information about our Young Leaders scheme visit our project page

Kickstart

Launched by the UK government’s department of Work and Pensions in 2020 as a response to the Covid crisis, the Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. The funding covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months.

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