YouthBuild Ventures, UK to serve marginalised British youth

Friday, July 19, 2019
YouthBuild UK Ventures Launch Photo

YouthBuild Ventures UK (YBVUK) mirrors the highly successful YouthBuild model created in the USA in 1978 and which today operates at 300 programme sites in 46 states and in 20 countries.  To date, 179,000 YouthBuild participants worldwide have dedicated 50 million community-service hours, building over 35,000 units of housing and other community assets.

YBVUK began a two-year pilot phase of operation in April that will see 300 young people enrolled across three London locations: Lewisham, Thamesmead, and Barking & Dagenham. After the UBVUK proof of concept is established, YBVUK has plans to expand to other UK sites.

UK Construction is widely known to be suffering a skills shortage caused by an aging workforce and by a poor pipeline of young people entering the sector. The industry is struggling to attract and retain workers. The crisis is driving up the cost of building in the capital and leading to poor quality of workmanship.

Findings from the Institute for Public Policy Research (with support from JPMorgan Chase) indicate that London faces a shortage of 22,000 middle-skilled jobs, with construction operatives being in the top-10th of the occupations in demand.

The focus of the pilot phase centres on the skills shortages in the UK construction industry; a crisis predicted to worsen significantly. The pilot phase will provide a coordinated response by creating a model which responds to the leadership and livelihood aspirations of socially excluded youth, while simultaneously addressing the skills and labour crisis in the construction industry.

“We took a strategic view to focus our pilot phase on the construction industry” explains YouthBuild Ventures UK Chief Executive Shenaaz Chenia. “YouthBuild will draw in untapped talent from the country’s unemployed youth and prepare them for careers in the construction, an industry that not only offers low entry barriers, but also provides a vast range of opportunities. Youthbuild can help create the leaders and skilled workers of tomorrow.”

“One in seven young people leaves school without qualifying with their GCSE’s,” explains Chenia, “and young people not in employment, training or education currently cost Britain £22M per week in Jobseekers Allowance, and even more per week in lost productivity. 

JP Morgan is providing seed funding for the programme’s expansion to London as part of its $350m global investment to prepare for the future of work and meet the growing demand for skilled workers.

Delphine Poschmann, Head of U.K. Philanthropy for J.P. Morgan said, “At J.P. Morgan we believe that collaboration between business, non-profit organisations and the government is key to creating economic opportunity for more people across the world. We are pleased to be supporting this initiative alongside YouthBuild and Saint-Gobain.”

Saint-Gobain, a partner of YouthBuild in three countries, is the lead construction sector partner to YBVUK. PGIM Real Estate, a long term partner of YouthBuild, is a strategic and operational partner to YBVUK.

Mike Chaldecott, CEO, Saint-Gobain, UK and Ireland said, “In addition to providing individual opportunities this scheme will help meet industry demand. Saint-Gobain are committed to helping ease the construction skills gap in the UK and I’m looking forward to witness the tangible impact this programme will have.”

Mary Hamilton, Managing Director of PGIM Real Estate said “We are proud to work with YouthBuild students and to support their growth and development as young leaders. This collaboration is just one example of our shared commitment to the communities in which we operate and invest in, and around the world. In addition, it builds on our long-standing relationship between our parent company, Prudential Financial, and YouthBuild USA.”

Tim Cross, President of YouthBuild International said, “We’re delighted to be working with Saint-Gobain and J.P. Morgan to bring this initiative to fruition in the UK. The YouthBuild model is something that’s proven to work across the globe, and we’re pleased to be working with our UK partners to make this resource available to young people who could benefit the most from the YouthBuild experience.”


Click here for a video about YouthBuild Ventures UK.