This talk will demonstrate how an interdisciplinary team of designers, psychologists, young people, municipal workers and business people took a collaborative and design-led approach to prototyping and implementing a new service to tackle youth unemployment in Denmark. A service which is currently running in Roskilde, Denmark and has the potential to scale across the country.
In Denmark 37-39.000 young people in the age group 16-29 years are unemployed. A large part of this group has no education and are struggling with multiple barriers to sustain employment or education, barriers which the existing employment system are unable to help them overcome. These barriers include social issues due to a troubled upbringing, lack of social networks, drug abuse, and mental fragility.
To tackle this complex challenge, the Rockwool Foundation and CIID Consulting set out to develop alternative models for youth employment services. Through a design-led social innovation approach target users and key stakeholders were involved in an iterative design process to uncover the roots of the problem.
One core insight was that in the current system, young people don’t feel like they have a choice or anywhere they belong. They are often ‘warehoused’ in municipal settings spending their time preparing in the abstract until they can prove they are ready for work. At the same time, the job centre places young people in company internships according to availability. Companies have limited say in who they receive and get limited support in developing the young people's employability.
To counter this experience, a new employment service - NExTWORK was co-designed with young people and companies. The idea in NExTWORK is to increase the number of opportunities available and facilitate a process where young people and local companies together can find the best social and work related matches to give companies and youth a genuine choice and more ownership over the process.
The service facilitates a set-up, where company networks are formed and in which groups of “vulnerable” young people are received and provided a variety of work opportunities. The young people gain immediate and developmental feedback, build social relations and experiences that will help them gradually identify or improve their strengths and ability to find direction. The local companies gain the opportunity to develop their own leadership skills in working with the young people, while also shaping and developing the future local work force.
This talk will demonstrate how an interdisciplinary team of designers, psychologists, young people, municipal workers and business people took a collaborative and design-led approach to prototyping and implementing a new service to tackle youth unemployment in Denmark. The talk will cover:
1. How we have worked to unlock untapped resources in smaller local enterprises and mobilise these communities to make sustainable change.
2. How our approach to give young people responsibility first and to treat them as capable of contributing has fostered learning, progress and development.
3. Our ongoing attempts to bust out of siloed (design) practices and develop broader capacities to tackle some of today’s most complex systems challenges.