1. Start by looking around youAs a club or a league the biggest advantage you have is that you already have a potential group of young volunteers in your own membership. Engage with the players on your doorstep and let them help shape their club.
2. Truthful, accurate, honest - what’s your offer?Be clear on what help you want from young people. Talk directly. Provide a realistic description of what’s required. Offer roles identifying tasks or projects that need to be done. Such as “Help required for coaching, refereeing, awards night, website development, a fundraiser, renovating a club house.”
3. Whats in it for me?Many young people will be looking for an opportunity to better themselves. To gain experience, learn a skill or even a qualification that helps with their personal or career progression. A lot of activity that takes place in a club or league can also be viewed as marketing, communications, management of events, sports administration etc. Just the sort of thing employees or universities look for.
4. Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat?
Almost all young people are familiar with new technology, software and social media. A huge range of volunteering opportunities can be created easily with this as a springboard; get a young person over the age of 18 to manage social media sites, blog regularly or make and edit videos, photos and publicity – all of which can be done remotely.
Young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow. They have the energy, skills and ideas to change football and the wider community for the better today.
The FA has experienced these benefits over the last twenty years through its Youth Leadership programmes.
We now want to extend this approach, engage more young people and from a wider range of backgrounds.
The FA wants to establish a culture of involving young people (16- 25 yrs.) in the organisation of football.
This approach will benefit young people, promote better informed and more representative decision making, and bring through a new generation of volunteers into the workforce across the grassroots game. For this approach to work it needs to be based on genuine youth-adult partnerships.
What can happen when Young people are invited to get involved is that they are engaged right at the end of the process and then asked to do a job that can be mundane and routine.
At worst they are viewed as a source of cheap labour. Whilst these jobs do need to be done genuine benefits will arise from getting young people involved in a meaningful way and giving equal weight and value to their ideas and suggestions.
Obviously when working with under 18s the appropriate safeguarding procedures should be in place.
The FA has 50 County Football Associations. Many of these operate a youth council.
The remit and activity of these County Youth Councils differs but in most cases the youth council will seek to support the CFA deliver some of its programmes, activities and events.
The CFA gain an energetic, committed workforce and the young people get a chance to gain some valuable experience of grassroots sport.
The FA operates a National Youth Council (FAYC) with 14 representatives. The activity of the council will seek to develop the knowledge experience and capability of its members and assist The FA in developing meaningful and impactful programmes for young people.
The Chair of the FAYC also has a place on Football’s Parliament – The FA Council as well as other influential FA committees and working groups.
Last year Youth Council received presentations from a number of Football experts, they staffed a UEFA conference, supported the establishment of new CFA Youth Councils and helped deliver the FA People’s Cup and the FA Disability Cup.
Individual representatives were invited overseas to promote an understanding of Youth Leadership and collectively they planned and delivered an inspirational FA Youth Leadership Academy.
Each year the FAYC organises a Leadership Academy. This is a four- day residential experience hosted at the end of July at St George’s Park that focuses on developing the leadership potential of young people – as individuals, as a team and when working in the community.
County FAs and other FA partners like BUCS and AOC nominate leaders as well as some other UEFA associations.
Each year The FA selects its Youth Council which can involve existing or new members. Applicants complete an application form and submit a video.
The application process begins in May/June and is publicised on The FA and CFA websites and those of our partners.