DOT’s UK Youth Leadership Advisory Board launched to integrate displaced youth

April 26th, 2023

Alongside a consortium of sector-leading partners, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) UK has supported the launch of a  Youth Leadership Advisory Board (YLAB) to support young displaced people to integrate successfully into host countries. 

The need to support displaced youth comes at a pivotal moment. In the UK alone there are 135,912 refugees and 83,439 pending asylum cases. With the increased number of displaced people due to war, climate change and social and political unrest across the globe, an urgent need is growing to support young people as they come to find the UK as their new home. Integration is a necessity – highlighting the skills of displaced people or providing opportunities to upskill, accelerates integration and social cohesion.  Many refugees, who already face accessibility barriers were further marginalised by the digital divide exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. With limited funds from the government and low-wage jobs, refugees are unable to afford mainstream equipment and connectivity costs. 

The YLAB was established following a 3 part co-design process, which gathered displaced youth to understand and create an action plan around the purpose and vision of displaced youth integration. As Sam Taherimoud, a co-design participant, explained

“[these] co-design sessions inspire(d) honest conversations of grassroot needs to foster cross-sector collaboration on sustainable policies, breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for displaced youth to thrive.”

The co-design, which took place in late 2022, included seven young people from London, Huddersfield, Newcastle, Kent, Basingstoke, and Wolverhampton and represented 4 UK partners CodeYourFuture, Tern, Techfugees and Migrateful. 60% of the youth that participated identified as women. 

The group gathered to understand the barriers and challenges displaced youth faced when settling into host communities and to brainstorm ways that the newly formed YLAB could support a broader eco-system mission of true integration into host communities.  

During the co-design process, key barriers were identified, such as difficulties in accessing work and information, displaced youth facing misperception, and a lack of skills development opportunities.

It was recommended by the youth that lived experience should lead, given the makeup of the board and the participant’s expertise. The group noted that the focus of the board should focus on displaced youth or those with lived experiences of displacement. Nirmeet Kaur Baweja commented;

“By having young displaced people at the centre of the decision-making process, it ensures that their voices and needs are heard and acted upon. This helps to create a more inclusive and effective environment that directly meets the needs of the community.”

The board established the main focus of integration, and through its work, the YLAB and consortium partners should focus on providing support for integrating displaced youth in the UK.  Digital and administrative skills, language and workforce skilling were highlighted with importance.  

Angelika Sharygina, a Ph.D. student based in Ireland, commented.

YLAB’s focus on skills development, language acquisition, and workforce integration paves the way for accelerating growth of digital livelihoods for the displaced to contribute to a more inclusive and equal society. Together, we’re stronger to overcome obstacles and build a brighter future for the betterment of all.”

You can read the full report here. 

About the Consortium

DOT UK is part of a larger partnership ecosystem. The consortium of partners was brought together through a shared interest to advance the skills and opportunities of displaced communities in the UK. 

Members of the Consortium include Techfugees, Kiron, Buffalo Grid, TERN and Na’amal. Additional outreach partners include Migrateful and Code Your Future

To partner with the YLAB or DOT UK, reach out to