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This discussion focuses on the crucial space between young people coming out of education and into the workplace.

Young Hearts …. Helping Young People To Help Themselves.

Faced with major and unimagined disruptions, this important and very timely online Panel Discussion explores how young people can help themselves and we can guide them.


Young Hearts …. Run Free

This old pop song from Candi Staton was about the pain of a broken and finished relationship. In reality, it was a tragic recognition of the damaged years, the wasted opportunities, the wrong directions – and, maybe, the fear that it was too late to make up for lost ground.

Now – today – many young people may well feel the same. Disrupted; disorientated – maybe damaged – by Covid, by a recession of incomprehensible nature and size- and its fall-outs, by technology and by a Brexit of change, of difficulty – but, certainly, of as yet unidentified opportunities.

For young people, the burgeoning national – maybe global – debate is about the educational deficit and about jobs where young people look like being amongst the losers. Around all this are much public and quasi-public organisational activity and unlimited government money and effort which is increasingly becoming both voluble and active, virtually all of which is aimed at jobs.

But a key bit is missing.


This missing key bit is around how young people themselves can improve their own life chances through their own activities, efforts, innate abilities, judgement and philosophies. They need to rely on themselves, not wait for others to provide the answers. This Panel Discussion examines this area, seeking a better understanding and to create information and advice that will help those young people who want to help themselves. In a major way, it is Self Help. Self Help is also a book written by Samuel Smiles, arguably the best book ever written about management, leadership, business and, crucially, people in business and what makes them successful. See footnote.

More about Purpose

This journey is not instead of what is currently being done; it’s as well as. It could prove to be more effective. It looks at that crucial space between young people coming out of education and into the workplace. What can young people do to help themselves and what exactly should they and advisors be doing in this regard.

Yes, pathways to success do need education and available jobs – both quantity and quality. But they also need young people with emotional intelligence, with access to the most effective personal networks, with developing those easy and thoughtful abilities to get on with a broad range of people – and able to recognise – and handle – tricky – even dangerous – situations – sometimes alone. They need challenges that develop perseverance and tenacity and are not automatically someone else’s fault if they go wrong. Success is as much to do with pull as it is about push. The race is not always to the swift, nor yet the battle to the strong! Ability is not always obvious and instantly available – it can be developed.

All of this will likely feature in a successful and global UK from now on. Building Back Better is for everyone – particularly for those who will inherit what the current generation will have left them with.

The Chair

Sir Ciaran Devane

Originally a biochemical engineer, Sir Ciarán spent his formative career with ICI before becoming a management consultant, specialising in large scale change projects with multi-national companies.

Ciarán became chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support in 2007. During Ciarán’s tenure, Macmillan became the country’s most respected charity and the UK Brand of the Year.

In 2015 Ciarán became chief executive of the British Council, the UK’s organisation for international education and cultural relations where he focused on demonstrating the impact of the organisation’s network of 110 country teams, building trust in the UK, its institutions and its people.

Ciarán has been a non-executive director on the board of NHS England and President of the European Development Practitioner’s Network. Currently he is chair of the Health Service Executive, Ireland’s public health and social care system and also of Clore Social Leadership.

In April Ciarán joined Coventry University as Executive Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations which applies social science research to building peace and security in challenged societies.

Ciarán is recognised as a thought-leader in international policy, and in leadership of complex systems. Sir Ciarán received his knighthood for services to cancer patients.


Peter Cheese, CEO – The CIPD

Peter is the CIPD’s chief executive. He writes and speaks widely on the development of HR, the future of work, and the key issues of leadership, culture and organisation, people and skills.

Peter is a Fellow of the CIPD, a Fellow of AHRI (the Australian HR Institute) and the Academy of Social Sciences. He is also a Companion of the Institute of Leadership and Management, the Chartered Management Institute, and the British Academy of Management. He is a visiting Professor at the University of Lancaster and sits on the Advisory Board for the University of Bath Management School. He holds honorary doctorates from Bath University, Kingston University and Birmingham City University.

Prior to joining the CIPD in July 2012, he was Chairman of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a member of the Council of City & Guilds. Up until 2009 he had a long career at Accenture holding various leadership positions and culminating in a seven year spell as Global Managing Director, leading the firm’s human capital and organisation consulting practice.


Laura-Jane Rawlings – Founder & CEO of Youth Employment UK

Laura-Jane (LJ) left school at 16 with poor GCSE grades. She had experience of being a free school meal student, being singled out because of it. Through her early career she worked in retail and sales, using each step to build her skills, experience and confidence. Whilst working in recruitment LJ began to see that the barriers she faced were not unique to her and became a passionate advocate for young people transitioning between education and employment. Spending time to better understand the structural issues of youth unemployment and the policy around the area, LJ founded Youth Employment UK in 2012.

Laura-Jane is a passionate campaigner for youth employment and the rights for all young people to access quality employment and have their voices heard on the issues that affect them. Laura-Jane believes that it is for all of us to create a youth friendly society so that young people can fulfil their potential.

Recognised as a leading youth employment expert Laura-Jane provides support, insight and expertise to many groups such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Employment, she is the co-founder of the Youth Employment Group, and has supported a range of expert groups on issues of social mobility, employment and skills. Laura-Jane is also a Board Member of the Youth Futures Foundation, DIGIT and the Federation for Education Development, she also spent 8 years as a Secondary School Governor.

Youth Employment UK is an independent, not for profit social enterprise founded in 2012 to tackle youth unemployment. As experts on youth employment and unemployment, we are ideally placed to understand the complex landscape facing young people, employers and policy makers. We are actively tackling youth unemployment by: Giving young people a voice on the youth employment issues that affect them; Supporting young people with the skills and careers support they need to progress; Supporting employers to develop and be recognised for their youth friendly employment practice; Connecting young people to Youth Friendly Employers; Providing expert insight across all youth employment policy areas and Giving young people skills, careers support and tools to fulfil their potential.


Matt Hyde, OBE, CEO, The Scout Association

Matt Hyde is Chief Executive of the Scouts, the UK’s largest co-educational youth movement. Formerly Chief Executive of the National Union of Students (NUS), he has undertaken a number of leadership roles in the charity sector and as Chief Executive of the Scouts has contributed to a period of record membership growth since he joined in 2013. He has overseen the development and delivery of a rebrand, award-winning campaigns and has spearheaded work to support the growth of Scouting in areas of deprivation.

Matt is also a trustee of Comic Relief, a Patron of UNLOCK (the charity for people with convictions) and was previously Vice-Chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). He developed the world’s first degree apprenticeship for social change which launched at Queen Mary University of London in 2019.

Matt was awarded an OBE in the 2020 New Years Honours List and an Honorary Fellowship from Queen Mary University of London in 2012. He was named as one of the 25 most influential charity sector leaders by Charity Times in 2019.

The Scout Association is the largest Scouting organisation in the United Kingdom and is the World Organization of the Scout Movement’s recognised member for the United Kingdom. As of 2018, the association claims to provide activities to 464,700 young people in the UK with over 116,400 adult volunteers which is more than one adult for each 4 young people. Its programmes include Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts, Explorer Scouts (aged 14–18) up to adult Network members (aged 18–25).The association aims to provide “fun, adventure and skills for life and give young people the opportunity to enjoy new adventures, experience outdoors and take part in a range of creative, community and international activities, interact with others, make new friends, gain confidence and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

The Chief Scout is Bear Grylls. See Note below


Tim Hollingsworth, CEO – Sport England

Tim Hollingsworth is the Chief Executive of Sport England, the agency responsible for delivering sport and physical activity at community level across England. He has held the role since November 2018.

For seven years prior to this, Tim was Chief Executive at the British Paralympic Association, the National Paralympic Committee for the United Kingdom. He also served as Secretary General for ParalympicsGB at four Paralympic Games.

Prior to that, Tim was first Director of Policy & Communications and then Chief Operating Officer at UK Sport. Previously, Tim worked as Director of a strategic communications consultancy, HBL Media, as Head of Corporate Communications at Granada Media plc, and Head of Media Relations at the CBI. Tim is a Council Member of the University of Bath, a Trustee of the Football Foundation and a Member of the International Paralympic Committee’s Paralympic Games Committee. He holds Honorary Degrees from both Bath and Exeter University as well as a Master’s Degree in Drama from Exeter. He received an OBE in the 2017 Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Supporting Information

Much important and insightful information – including about Young People – comes from the Institute of Employment Studies. . IES is a leading independent centre for research and evidence-based consultancy in Employment.

In their latest IES Briefing Note, they report:-……….and there are signs that at last young people are starting to benefit from that recovery.

This compares with their more sombre findings earlier in the year:-

IES Briefing Note. Tuesday 23 March 2021 Labour Market Statistics, March 2021

“However if that is the good news – and it is good news (lack of major changes to the current employment situation) – the bad news ……… for young people, who always lose out when hiring slows. Young people now account for nearly two thirds of the fall in employment, while long-term youth unemployment appears to be rising strongly (up by two fifths in the last year). Payrolled employment for people aged over 25, by contrast, is only around 1% below pre-crisis levels “


Very few have ever heard of Samuel Smiles…What might amaze many is that Samuel Smiles wrote his major work, “Self Help” in 1859! It was a best-seller in its day. He says that success comes mainly through perseverance. But it also comes through looking for new angles, new insights, different ways of thinking, of interpreting, of managing, of leading. It is also about self-education, collaboration, working with others and developing those personal attributes that make things work.

What drove the Industrial Revolution, should now be driving our own Industrial Revolution today – a Revolution of the Individual! Samuel Smiles is likely to have played a key role in the development of the Industrial Revolution in the UK. He must have inspired that amazing work ethic and the world-beating entrepreneurial spirit in hundreds of Victorian men and women looking to see how they might advance their careers and/or businesses and, importantly, help other people. (You can buy the book from Amazon.)

What makes this very significant for this panel discussion is that Samuel Smiles was the great, great grandfather of Bear Grylls, the Scout Association’s Chief Scout.

Devonshire House

Established in 1967, Devonshire House is a people-focused membership club for Director-level professionals in leadership roles who have an instinctive focus on the human side of Enterprise. Their aim is to create for their members thinking time and space for key business issues, and where people make the difference.

In normal circumstances, Devonshire House runs about ten main Events each year – a mix of formal dinners, buffets, Directors Forums, Panel Debates, Panel Discussions, and networking- based Elbow Room Networking Events – personal networking Events that seek to get as close as possible to face-to-face meetings. They also organise some other specialist one-offs. Please see