In Short

Youth Flow is a person centred, strengths based, holistic approach to employment support for young people who are either furthest from the labour market and/or from disadvantaged groups and with multiple complex needs.

Young people who are part of disadvantaged groups are significantly under-represented in the workforce. This being further exacerbated by COVID-19, due to fewer job opportunities with increased competition for them. Being employed is associated with better health and wellbeing, so this inequality could be a significant contributor to health inequalities found in Northern Devon. This means that some young people find it difficult to navigate the ‘system’ and services are unable to engage with clients meaningfully or holistically meet their needs. Furthermore, local business leaders have highlighted that there is little or no mental and physical health support for their workers which impacts negatively on the staff as individuals and in turn the business community.

Youth Flow is a person centred, strengths based, holistic approach to employment support for young people who are either furthest from the labour market and/or from disadvantaged groups and with multiple complex needs. After having a ‘What matters’ conversation, Youth Flow will take a multi-agency approach and create a bespoke and co-produced plan with the young person with the aim of overcoming barriers to employment, increase confidence and move the young person closer to the labour market. The team also approaches local businesses to recruit workplace mentors to support young people in return for a health and wellbeing package in partnership with local NHS partners.

100 young people who are either furthest from the labour market and/or from disadvantaged groups and with multiple complex needs. Youth Flow and One Northern Devon will also support the local business community in the health and wellbeing of their staff.

Youth Flow is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions who have commissioned One Northern Devon to carry out this work. Encompass South West and TTVS will be hosting the Youth Flow roles on behalf of One Northern Devon.

1st November 2020 – 31st October 2021

Michelle Harding – Youth Flow Lead Employer Engagement Mentor –

In More Detail

 The Youth Flow Project Explained

This is a pilot project, funded by The Department for Work and Pensions, running for 12 months initially. The aim is to get 100 long term unemployed people aged 18-24 closer to the labour market.

All participants need to be referred from the job centre and it is completely voluntary, so there are no sanctions if the participant drops out.

We have a wide variety of participants, from care leavers, ex-offenders, homelessness, substance abusers, and people who just need a little bit of support to get work ready.

The project started in November, and we went in to lockdown in December, meaning that the project has had a bit of a false start, but we are now really looking to push things along.

The Process

The participant will be referred from JCP to a youth progress coach, who will work with the participant and agree short and long term goals. At this point, if a mentor is required to provide extra support, I will be notified and a mentor assigned. If the participant is work ready, I will also source work experience and it may be that the mentor is also in the workplace to support them whilst there.

Initially, we assumed that mentors would be predominantly work based, however a combination of lockdown and the nature of the participants has meant that very few work placements have been required thus far, and mentors are more required to support in the community.


Once the need for a mentor is established, we contact the bank of mentors and provide details on the participant and what is required. You can then choose to offer support or not. If we get more than one response, we will use the mentor information capture sheet to discuss with the participant and agree who would be the best support for that individual.

 We recognise that you are all doing this voluntarily and would not ask for more than an hour per week of your time. This can be face to face, online, by text or whatever you and the participant feel is most appropriate.

You will receive full training and you are free to stop at any time.

Regarding the support required… It may be to revise for their driving theory, shopping with them to get PPE for a work placement, looking at courses, helping them job search or look for housing or anything else in between! But rest assured you will be supported at all times and can always ask for advice and clarification if you are unsure of something.

We aim to work with each participant for 12 weeks, but this can be extended if the need is there.

Regarding paperwork, all that is required is that you complete a visit report which is a very simple form, detailing the contact you have had in the week if any were planned.

Work placements

This part may or may not be of interest to you, but we are also looking for organisations to offer work experience to the participants. This can be as many or as few hours as the participant can do and you can accommodate.

Work place wellbeing package

As a thank you, mentors and organisations that offer support (even if you are not called upon) can access the work place wellbeing package for themselves and their employer. This includes free mental health first aid training which is a recognised qualification. Depending on your own or your organisation’s needs, we can work with you to tailor make a well being package to support the mental health of yourself and / or your organisation’s workforce.


We know there is a lot of information here, so we welcome any questions you may have. You can also give Michelle Harding, the Youth Flow Lead Employer Engagement Mentor a call on 01237 420131 / 07935 002756

If you are interested, please complete the mentor information capture sheet and return by e-mail to

Please also let us know which training session you would like to book on to. It will be approximately an hour. If none of these dates fit, we can arrange an individual session at a time to suit you.

01.07.21 10am 1pm 7pm