Overcoming barriers when engaging with young people at events
Many of us who undertake public engagement and consultation exercises will know that getting young people energised to become involved can be difficult. We’ve compiled three tips to consider when trying to reach this group. These shouldn’t be new to you, but may help jog your memory for your next engagement exercise!
A: Don’t underestimate the importance of timings:
- Consider evenings and weekend events
- Keep it short
- Location is key
To improve your engagement with young people, you should consider issues around access. Make it as easy as possible for young people to engage with your consultation and engagement exercises by planning for any access issues that may arise when designing your events. This doesn’t just mean location, but also the timings, cost of travel and length of the event.
This is particularly important during workshops and focus groups, where people with more experience and understanding of an issue may dominate the discussion. Young people may be intimidated to speak up about their opinions in a group of adults. It is important to make sure they feel comfortable and valued. Having a good facilitator is a good way to ensure that young people feel their views are being listened to.
The typical engagement event based in a village hall will not entice young people to get involved. You will need to think outside the box in order to get this age group to participate. Involving young people during the pre-consultation phase when deciding on your events, will provide you the opportunity to discover methods you previously may not have thought of. Use their experience of events they have attended to establish what has and hasn’t worked, to be able to work smart and engage their age group. Let them come up with fresh ideas which will increase your response rate.
- Give them ownership of an event (Decisions are made by people older than them – let them take ownership of an idea or event by spreading your message and helping get feedback)
- Use of the Internet for sharing/ publicising