Partnering with Youth Futures Foundation and the Mohn Westlake Foundation, The Young Foundation will work with up to thirty young people, employed through the Kickstart Scheme to be trained as peer researchers.

This is an opportunity for a cohort of young people to gain access to employment that seeks to build confidence, skills and agency not only in the world of work, but in the realm of social and civic action. In addition, through the research field work undertaken by those same young people, we are embarking on a unique social research and evaluation opportunity to understand the direct lived experiences of up to a further 450 young people.

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund from the Government to create high quality 6-month job placements for young people, targeting 16 to 24-year-olds currently on Universal Credit and deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

What is a peer researcher?

Peer researchers (also referred to as ‘community researchers’) use their lived experience and contextual understanding of a social or geographical community to help generate information about their peers for research purposes. They may be involved in assisting with research design, developing research tools, collecting and analysing data or writing up and disseminating findings. Find out more about why peer research is important here.

Benefits for the young people involved

Through this employment opportunity, the young people involved will develop their skills and competencies in a range of areas which will prepare them for further work. This includes highly transferable work-place skills and research practice, as well as core 21st Century skills competencies such as creativity, communication and collaborative problem solving.

We will be supporting our young employees to build the confidence to forge new relationships with people in their communities,  and opening up access to new networks, people and civil society groups, enabling them to take further action on the issues that are uncovered through their research.

The skills our new employees will be learning are relevant to a very wide range of jobs, but we hope that some may choose research as their path forward. As UKRI embarks on a mission to ensure that research and innovation is diverse, inclusive and an integral part of UK Society, we hope to build an entirely new pathway for young people into research activities that make a difference, and deliver public good.

Why The Young Foundation?

The Young Foundation has an explicit mission to bring communities across the UK directly into research processes on issues which affect them. We want to expand what is currently accepted as ‘evidence’ in an academic sense and give more legitimacy to people’s experiences and stories, and through that build a more comprehensive and real account of ‘what’s working’ – in ways that generate increased social and civic action. Part of this mission includes the development of a national network of peer researchers.

Through this network we now regularly recruit, train and coordinate peer researchers to work with us on a range of social impact projects; we work with almost 40 peer researchers currently, in 7 hubs across the UK. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation has been supporting further work to enable the current inclusion of young people into the network, including those from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds.

Once peer researchers have been trained, and have worked with us on a commissioned project they remain part of the network, able to access further work opportunities as projects arise.

This isn’t our first effort to find routes for young people into social purpose employment. The School for Social Entrepreneurs, UpRising and Year Here all started their life at The Young Foundation and this year, we have placed a renewed focus on building a fairer future for young people. Through the Inclusive Economy Partnership we are supporting young people transition into work and we’re building on our Amplify Youth programme to support young people on their civic journey –  to take local action on the issues they care about. Though our ongoing work to tackle education inequality through the Young Academy, working in partnership with UBS, NASS and SHINE, we are mobilising efforts to address some of the inequalities and disadvantages facing young people today.

Why Youth Futures Foundation?

Youth Futures Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that aims to transform the youth employment landscape, ensuring that young people from all backgrounds can access and keep good quality jobs.

Its work supports young people from marginalised backgrounds aged 16-24 who face discrimination or disadvantage in the labour market, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds.

It aims to narrow the employment gap for young people from marginalised backgrounds by identifying what works and why, investing in potential, and igniting new ideas to change behaviour and practice.

To learn more about peer research at The Young Foundation, contact

Are you a civil society organisation and part of the Kickstart Scheme? Join our action learning group where you can share experiences, learning and practice. Contact our CEO at:

Families & Youth Peer research Posted on: 14 June 2021


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