Talent Match (Croydon) is focused on supporting young people aged 18-24 who have been outside employment, education or training for 12 months. We particularly focus on the so-called ‘hidden NEETS’ - those who are not claiming work related benefits and are not accessing statutory support. 

The project aims to:

  • Give 350 long-term unemployed young people facing multiple barriers increased confidence, optimism and the skills to gain employment or start their own business

  • Support 50% (175) of the young people engaged to progress onto other positive pathways such as re- engaging at college, further skills training, pre-apprenticeships or volunteering
  • Enable 25% (88) of the young people engaged to progress into sustainable employment or enterprise (ensuring they are still in work or operating as an enterprise after six months)

The projects key themes include: 

  • Outreach: Focus on how to find and engage young people for whom previous programs have failed
  • Employer engagement: Involve employers in the design enabling them to feel part of the young person’s journey rather than being the recipient of ‘job ready’ young people who come out at the end of a process.


Strand One - Outreach, research, consultation - Local research, consultation, outreach and initiating young people to engage with learning, training or work placements:

  • Meet local providers and agencies to promote the programme; identify potential recruits and ‘hotspots’.
  • A programme of outreach sessions.

  • Agencies or young people may self refer

  • Support young people to set targets - measure progress and agree strategies.


Strand Two:- Application:

  • All young people complete a simple referral form, the Project Worker will support young people with completing these.

  • Milestone meetings: Young people and project staff will set at least five individual targets for progress. These may include such issues as relationships, drug use, home life and diet. These targets are agreed and documented and re-assessed at least once every month. 
  • Learning Agreement: Each young person has a learning agreement. This agreement outlines their programme, attendance requirements, expectations and confidentiality arrangements (safeguarding).


Strand 3 - Activities and skills development

  • A 12-week programme of activities is supported by Play Place or our Tier 2 partners. Young people agree themes such as: CV writing, sports programmes, healthy living, CABS sessions and music.

  • Young people may exit the 12-week programme at any point should they be in a position to move on to the next strand of delivery.
  • Accredited outcomes: Each young person will have a course folder, course folders will include a learning agreement, completed work, the milestones document and certificates achieved.
Key support: An allocated keyworker or volunteer mentor will support each young person.


Strand 4 - Business on Board

  • Employability and Support Services will work with young people into employment
 (Delivered by an external agency and supported directly by London Youth and Talent Match Croydon Programme Management). The Play Place Talent Match Worker works with Croydon Works and Job Centre Plus, to provide employability support.



Funded by:

  • The program is funded by Big Lottery and managed regionally by London Youth. Delivered Across Croydon by 4 organisations; Play Place are delivering New Addington, Shirley, Heathfield and Ashburton.