Inclusive Policy-Working with Minority Ethnic Young People for Decent Work

by Tony Wall, Ann Hindley, Minh Phuong Luong, Nga Ngo and Thi Hanh Tien Ho

Inclusive Policy-Working with Minority Ethnic Young People for Decent Work
The British Academy
Number of pages

Young people are one of the most significant assets in policy making. They contribute insight from the perspective of those affected by a policy or policy change, and as our future community and business leaders. Despite this, the involvement of young people in policy making remains relatively rare in many countries, including Vietnam. Although Vietnam is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, young people experience relatively low wages, job insecurity, job informality and poor working conditions. Policy involvement can raise the awareness and motivation of those involved in policy making, but this is challenging because of long-standing marginalisation that can make people feel they do not have a voice worthy of consideration by government and other policy makers. Creative and participatory methods need to be adapted to help young people to feel able to share their voice with those who are older and more powerful in society.

This policy briefing outlines how the creative, participatory method of appreciative inquiry can be used to enable policy makers to work successfully with younger people in the context of policies to expand ‘Decent Work’.

Participation of minority ethnic young people in policy making related to Decent Work is critical because of the complex distribution of governmental policy working across the fields of education, work and culture. Young people offer rich, first-hand insight into the efficacy of policy which in turn should enable all parts of society to contribute economically and socially. Specifically, the briefing pinpoints the preparation needs of younger people, especially those who typically are disadvantaged in economic, educational or other social terms, to engage in such participatory methods, as well as the adaptations needed to enable them to participate and contribute to policy activities.

This policy briefing draws from a study examining the empowerment of minority ethnic young people (aged 18-25) to re-vision Decent Work in Vietnam with policy makers, employers and university leaders. This particular brief draws from appreciative inquiry groups which aimed to explore new ways of working, and the strategies the project needed to develop to enable the young people to feel they were able to share their voice and contribute.

The policy briefing outlines practical ways to facilitate an inclusive approach to engaging minority ethnic young people in dialogue with policy makers and other stakeholders at national or local governmental levels. While the recommendations in this report are directly relevant to national and local governmental policy makers across the policy fields of education and work in Vietnam and similar developing countries, the underlying principles may have a wider resonance and applicability to policy makers across other geographic contexts with similar characteristics. For example, the rising occurrence of informal and unstable work opportunities which do not provide sufficient wage ‘to live’ has been noted for over two decades in the UK and US. Similarly, although the project focuses on policy working related to Decent Work, the principles have a wider applicability to other policy fields.

Sign up to our email newsletters