Reaching young people doesn’t need to be hard, but it needs to be engaging
Youth engagement is becoming an increasingly important part of engagement activities where projects and decisions have an impact on the youth of today and are likely to keep impacting them into the future.
In any engagement project young people are typically one of the hard-to-reach groups as activities are not usually tailored to them. Youth engagement may be seen as too hard, or not in the budget.
Experience has shown us that organisations that put effort into youth engagement are richly rewarded, as young people provide new perspectives and often bring with them a great sense of enthusiasm and willingness to contribute.
We have seen this successfully done in multiple local governments across Queensland.
But engaging with youth needs to be inclusive, creative and accessible. Youth look at things differently, and they want to be able to share their ideas collaboratively and with a sense of purpose. Key considerations when developing your strategy for youth include:
1.What age groups are you engaging with? What’s your organisation’s definition of youth?
Different organisations have different definitions of youth and even different projects will affect different youth segments. Youth can include primary school students, high school students and young adults aged 18 to 24. Age is important because it allows you to consider the engagement needs of each group and most appropriate methods for each segment.
2. What is the purpose and objectives of engaging with youth for your project?
Consider what youth engagement outputs you need for your project and how you’ll analyse them, so you can frame youth engagement questions for your strategy. This will then help you determine the best engagement methods to gather the feedback you need for your project.
3. What are the most appropriate engagement methods to reach youth?
This is largely determined by the context, scope, purpose and objectives of your project, particularly geographic. Consider innovative face to face and online engagement methods that are most likely to get the attention of youth, such as
- Visiting schools and running interactive workshop activities with the students during class time
- Engaging online surveys
- Postcard or drawing competitions to generate ideas in a visual medium
- Video competitions
- Youth forums involving multiple schools
- Youth advisory panels or references groups
Want to discuss youth engagement for your project? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org