This website provides details of NIACE’s Young People and Employability Skills project. We hope the project findings will prove useful in your work with young people – and that you will want to replicate the project and its approach.

Youth unemployment has reached record high levels in recent years. We frequently hear that employers think young people are not well prepared for the world of work, leaving many young people feeling demoralised and confused about what employers are actually looking for. This can fuel a perception that young people are not motivated or interested in learning or work.

To help address the challenge, NIACE designed and piloted the Young People and Employability Skills project. 31 unemployed young people received training and support to carry out face-to-face research interviews with 30 local employers. The purpose of the interviews was to identify what an ‘employable young person’ looks like from the perspective of an employer.

By bringing unemployed young people and local employers together, the project supported young people to develop a range of skills and improve their chances of getting a job and progressing in work.  Young people got to hear first hand what skills, qualities and experience are most important to employers when they are recruiting a young person. And employers benefitted too – supporting young people with their job search and perhaps meeting a future employee!


It’s made me a lot more pro-active and a lot more confident with regards to applying for work…it’s made me more confident making that initial contact.

Young person


Project Approach

Find out more about the project, who can benefit from it – and how to replicate it.


Project findings

What do employers consider to be most important when recruiting a young person?


Website for young people

Find out more about what this website offers young people aged 16-25.


Information Request

Before you download this resource, please can you provide us with the following information about you.

Learning and Work Institute (L&W) are asking for these details so we can understand the types of organisations and individuals who are accessing the What Employers Want resources. This information will be used for our own evaluation purposes. You will not be added to any marketing lists, but L&W may contact you to find out about your experience using these. Your details will be stored securely by L&W in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.