The research project was fantastic, because it offered us a well structured series of workshops, interview questions and research methodologies to introduce to young people.


The young people who took part in the pilot project were diverse in terms of age, gender and background. There were three groups – 10 young people per group.

Their role in the project was as follows:

  • To attend a 1-day research skills training session, delivered by NIACE.
  • Working in pairs, to conduct a minimum of two short face-to-face interviews with local employers. Each young person had the opportunity to lead an interview and to note-take an interview.
  • To write up the notes of each interview.
  • To attend a group meeting to discuss the interview findings.
  • To help put together a summary of the key findings from the interviews.
  • To provide feedback about their experience of the project by taking part in a short film. 

 The training session involved a mixture of short presentations, and small and whole group discussions. Its aims were to provide young people with:

  • a good understanding of the project and the reasons for doing it;
  • clear guidance on their role in the project, the support available to them, and the potential benefits of taking part for themselves and other unemployed young people;
  • an introduction to research, and particularly conducting face-to-face interviews; and
  • the confidence to conduct face-to-face interviews with employers.

Click here for a copy of the training programme. All the handouts listed in the programme are available in the Project in a Box guide

As part of the training, young people contributed to the development of the interview questions for employers. For a copy of the interview questions, click here. Young people who completed the training session received a certificate of attendance.

Following the training, partner organisations provided further support to their young people to conduct the interviews with employers, analyse the findings and produce a summary report.


For young people taking part, benefits of the project included:

  • Development of a range of skills, for example, communication, team work and research
  • A better insight into the skills and attributes that employers value
  • Increased confidence in applying for jobs and speaking directly to employers
  • An improved understanding of what can help increase their chances of gaining employment
  • Knowledge and awareness of local employers who offer apprenticeships and work placements to young people.

And perhaps most importantly, several of the young people have gained work!

“I’m going to be looking for another placement. The information I got from the project will help me to look for that placement and to sell myself better.”

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