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Events & Conferences

The British Sociological Association Work Employment and Society: Putting Sociology to Work conference, Belfast, 12-14 September 2018

On behalf of the researchers who worked on the interview programmes with young people in the Midlands, Professor Kate Purcell presented findings from the Paths2Work interviews at The British Sociological Association Work Employment and Society: Putting Sociology to Work conference, held at the Europa Hotel Belfast from 12 - 14 September. A pdf version of the presentation can be accessed here  

Regional Studies Association Annual Conference: The Great Regional Awakening: New Directions, Dublin, 4 - 7 June 2017

Professor Anne Green presented a paper on young peoples' challenges in transitioning to employment at the Regional Studies Association annual conference in Dublin - a pdf version of the presentation can be accessed here (PDF Document) 

History and Policy Trades Union Forum: Flexible Work and its Consequences: Historical Perspectives, 6 April 2017

Professor Noel Whiteside discussed flexible work now and in the past, at the History and Trades Union Forum. A video clip of the discussion can be accessed here  

A published version of the presented paper, 'Flexible employment and casual labour: a historical perspective on labour market policy', is available here

International Labour Process Conference: Reconnecting Work and Political Economy, Sheffield, 4 - 6 April 2017

Professor Mel Simms presented a paper on the role of employers in young people's labour market transitions - a pdf version of the presentation can be accessed here (PDF Document)

The Third Midlands Youth Labour Market Forum, 23rd November 2016,College Court Conference Centre, Leicester

In this half-day Forum event, preliminary findings from the Paths2Work research project, which examines young people's transitions from education to employment in the Midlands, were provided alongside contributions from invited expert stakeholders. The event brought together regional policy makers, employers and representatives from organsiations that work with young people. The following event resources are now available for download:

  • Event programme (PDF Document)
  • PDF version of the sub-project presentations (PDF Document)
  • Synthesis of discussion points (PDF Document)

Work, Employment and Society Conference 2016: Work in Crisis, Leeds, 6-8 September 2016

Professor Phil Mizen presented a paper on young people's experiences of agency working in the Midlands, at the Work, Employment, and Society Conference in Leeds - a pdf version of the presentation can be viewed here (PDF Document)

International Labour Process Conference, Berlin, 4-6 April 2016

Dr Charoula Tzanakou presented a paper on self-employment among graduates at the International Labour Process Conference in Berlin - please click here to access a pdf version of the presentation (PDF Document)

British Sociological Association Annual Conference: Global Societies Fragmenting and Connecting, 6 - 8 April 2016

Professor Kate Purcell presented a paper on Internships at the British Sociological Association Annual Conference at Aston University in Birmingham - the presentation can be accessed by clicking here (Powerpoint Presentation)

The Second Midlands Youth Labour Market Forum took place on 25th of November 2015 at the University of Aston.

This event followed the first meeting of MYLMF at the University of Warwick in November 2015. The second meeting at Aston brought together regional policy-makers, employers and representatives of organisations that work with and for young people and who are concerned about their transitions from education to employment.

In this second half-day Forum event, updates on the Paths2Work research project (funded by ESRC) were provided alongside short presentations from other regional stakeholders relevant to the interests of MYLMF members. A primary concern of this second meeting was consideration of key current issues in the Midlands youth labour market with reference to education, training and work (experience) opportunities for young people.

Speakers at the event were be Helen Higson (Aston University), Lee Barron (Midlands TUC Regional Secretary), Jane Newman (Birmingham City Council), Verity Stokes (Katie Bard). Read more about the speakers HERE.

The aims of the event were:

  • To update members on the ongoing research findings of a multi-institutional ESRC-funded project exploring young people’s transitions from education to employment in the Midlands;
  • To facilitate further opportunities for stakeholders in the Midlands to contribute their insights and views regarding current issues facing young people seeking work and those who work with and for them;
  • To encourage the transfer of knowledge and expertise between Forum members as a means to help both steer the development of the Paths2Work research project; and to aid discussion of how to best develop provision for young people seeking work in a difficult labour market

To access the presentation, please click on the icon(Powerpoint Presentation).

You can also access a synthesis report summarising the main points of the discussion taking place, delivered by Professor Anne Green 

Paths2Work Project -Launch Event (Thursday 13th of November 2014)

The Paths2Work research team launched the Paths2Work Project on Thursday 13th November 2014 at the University of Warwick. As part of this event, we initiated Midlands Youth Labour Market Forum, to share research findings from a range of relevant projects and discuss issues of concern to members, with meetings alternating among the research partner universities.

Audience and agenda: This event brought together regional policy-makers, employers and representatives of organisations that work with young people and are concerned about their transitions from education to employment. In this half-day event, a team presentation about the research project Paths2Work was delivered while a number of leading regional stakeholders talked about the issues from their perspectives. What did they see as the key issues in the Midlands Youth Labour Market with reference to the education, training and opportunities for work experience; paid and unpaid?

The aims of the event were:

  • To inform relevant stakeholders and policy makers in the Midlands about a large, multi-institutional ESRC-funded project exploring young people’s transitions from education to employment in the Midlands, with a focus on the increasing incidence of work experience, unpaid work and involuntary temporary and part-time work
  • To invite stakeholders in the Midlands to contribute their insights and views regarding this project in order to ensure that we are asking the right questions and the project output will be of relevance to groups and individuals concerned with young people’s transitions into employment in the Midlands; and

This project addresses high priority social, economic and policy-related issues and has the potential to make a huge impact at regional and national levels.

Agenda of the event

09.45-10.15 Registration and Coffee  

Welcome to Warwick

Ken Sloan, Registrar, University of Warwick
  Introduction Sheila Bates, Coventry City Council (Chair)
10.30-11.30 Outline of the Paths2Work project Professor Kate Purcell, University of Warwick

Putting the present in context: young people in the Midlands in previous recessions

Professor Anne Green and Professor Noel Whiteside, University of Warwick


Researching school and college leavers' experiences and aspirations

Professor Phil Mizen, Aston University

Researching recently qualified graduates' early career experiences

Professor Kate Purcell, University of Warwick

Investigating local employers' experiences and perspectives

Professor Melanie Simms, University of Leicester


Perspectives from key Midlands stakeholders, concerned with the supply of, the demand for and the experiences of young people in the Midlands

Laurel Penrose, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College

Karen Warren, Coventry and Warwickshire CIPD Branch

Lee Rogerson, Street Talk Ltd


Comments, questions and reflections - participants perspectives

12.50 -13.00

Summary of comments/Closing the event

13.00- 14.00

Lunch and informal discussion/networking



Laurel Penrose, Deputy Chief Executive and Deputy Principal North Warwickshire & Hinckley College and South Leicestershire College


Laurel took up the newly created post of Deputy Chief Executive and Deputy Principal of NWHC and SLC in January 2014. Prior to this she was Vice Principal Curriculum and Quality, leading the development of a dynamic vocational curriculum working closely with employers and universities. Laurel has acted as the quality nominee for four Ofsted inspections at NWHC and SLC. Success rates for both colleges have improved with Laurel’s stewardship with NWHC consistently achieving success rates that put it in the top 10per cent of colleges nationally.

In addition to extensive further education experience, Laurel has led on the implementation of a rapidly expanding secondary school academies chain, which now includes three academies and two studio schools. Laurel has extensive links with the Department for Education and local authorities. Laurel holds a first class honours degree in Law along with her PGCE and a host of additional post graduate qualifications. She is a member of the AoC’s national Portfolio group advising 14-19 provision in FE and is chair of the local governing body at The Midland Studio College.

Lee Rogerson, Managing Director of Street Talk


Lee Rogerson is the managing director of Street Talk, a youth work company, established in 2004. He specialises in work with socially marginalised young people
who have fallen out of the education system and are involved in crime, gangs, and anti-social behaviour. His research interests also include exploring how young people's experiences of grief and loss influence their life choices and outcomes.

In 2011, Street Talk won the national Children and Young People Now award in Youth Work for the Differences Never Apply (DNA) project, looking at tackling social discrimination in Hodge Hill, Birmingham. Its work has been featured in Engaging Practice: a good practice guide for citizenship (2011) jointly produced by the University of Cambridge, University of Leicester, Community Service Volunteers (CSV) and funded by the Society for Educational Studies (SES).

A professionally trained and award winning documentary film-maker, he is currently making a number of documentary films for the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues (University of Birmingham), MyPlace (University of Warwick) and Step Up to Serve Campaign (led by HRH Prince of Wales).He is a JNC qualified youth worker and holds an MA (with distinction) in Youth and Community. In 2004, he was made an MBE for services to young people in Coventry.

Karen Warren, CIPD Coventry and Warwickshire Branch Representative.


Karen has developed her career in the field of Human Resources for almost 20 years and prior to this began her working life as a retail store manager. She has a considerable amount of experience with people and the world of work at all stages and levels of their careers. She is an active member of the local Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Coventry and Warwickshire and leads the branch Mentoring Scheme; matching experienced professionals with newly qualified, less experienced or career focused members. Her interests in this project stem from her involvement in the pilot of the Steps Ahead Mentoring (SAM) Scheme launched by the CIPD in conjunction with Job Centre plus that brought together the professional expertise of the HR community to engage with the high levels of youth unemployment and offer support to better enable them find work.

Sheila Bates, Children's Champion, Coventry City Council (Chair)


My day job is Children's Champion at Coventry City Council. It has to be one of the best jobs in the world. I work with children, young people, parents and carers to ensure they are involved in the decision-making processes that impact upon them and champion their rights. No two days are the same, I work across the council and its partners involving service users and their families in the design, commissioning, monitoring and evaluation of services, recruitment and selection of staff, development of policy and practice as well as event planning/delivery. When not at work I am studying for a Masters in Disaster Management. The dream would be to combine the participation skills I use at work with my academic knowledge and offer support to victims in disaster zones.