Community mobilisation through intersectoral partnerships to support education and employment outcomes for adolescents and young adults with long term health conditions: The Work Ready Network project. Award: £6,455.40

  • McDonagh, Janet E. (Recipient), Verstappen, Suzanne (Recipient), Farre, Albert (Recipient) & Lunt, Laura (Recipient)

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


Centre for Epidemiology Versus Arthritis Pump Priming Fund. Award: £6,455.40

Lay summary

Stable and productive employment is interlinked with a person’s health. A young person with a long term health condition (LTHC) starting their first job is potentially different to an adult already in work who then develops a LTHC. Work readiness is how prepared such young people are for employment and includes educational achievement , prior work experience, communication skills, their self-esteem, their own expectations and those of others (eg parents or professionals ), knowledge of rights and resources and attitudes of society towards LTHC. Work is increasingly recognised as an important health outcome in adulthood though not yet during adolescence. One of the challenges of research in this area is the wide range of stakeholders from various sectors (health, education, work, voluntary etc). The primary aim of this project is to bring all these people together with young people themselves and develop a network for further research and development.

Project summary

Stable and productive employment is a fundamental social determinant of health and increasingly recognised as a health outcome. However, research has focused on adulthood and left behind the distinct needs of adolescents and young adults (AYA). For AYA finding a vocation is a key developmental task, integral to identity formation, financial independence, and social relationships. Growing up with a long term health condition (LTHC) can disrupt vocational trajectories, transition into employment and influence work and health outcomes across the life course. One key challenge for research and practice in this area is the diversity of stakeholders involved (including AYA themselves, their families, education, health care, social care, voluntary sector, employers, councils, youth services, service commissioners). Using a community mobilisation approach with a focus on intersectoral partnerships, paired with social network analysis methods, this project will develop a network of stakeholders at the intersection of healthcare and employment to improve the lives of AYA affected by long-term health conditions. In doing so, through a programme of events we will also seek to raise awareness of the importance of work readiness as health outcome for AYA with LTHC, and develop a collaborative action and research agenda in this area.