Held in November every year, TUC Young Workers Month helps promote trade unions to young workers and highlights the issues faced by young workers.

Young Workers Month is an opportunity for union reps, activists and campaigners to reach out and inform young workers about trade unions and ensure that there are sufficient opportunities for young people to get involved and play an active role in shaping the movement.

It’s also a chance for unions to demonstrate to young people that we are campaigning on the issues they care most about and that we are relevant to their lives both in the workplace and beyond.

young workers

Young Workers Month 2017 #YWM17

In 2017, we are focusing particularly on

1. Apprenticeships – Campaigning for quality apprenticeships for all young workers

We are concerned by worrying reports that too many apprentices are being paid low wages, below minimum wages, without adequate support to do the same job as non-apprenticeships. Recent ONS statistics suggest 135,000 apprentices are being paid below the minimum apprentice wage.

We want to use young workers month to raise awareness of these “dodgy” apprenticeships and campaign for high quality apprenticeships.

2. Organising – Highlighting the young workers making a change in the workplace

In our recent research report “I feel like I can’t change anything,” we reported just 9.4 per cent of Britain’s young core workers are union members yet are most likely to be on low pay, in insecure work and face underemployment. One of the barriers young workers reported to better conditions was empowerment. Some saying that speaking up would be futile or could harm others’ perception of them:

We want to use young workers month to highlight the young people of the trade union movement that are fighting back and campaigning for change.

Young workers need trade unions more than ever


What's Left for young people in the world of work - 16 November 7pm
A night of music, comedy and debate about the future of young people in work.

Young workers and unions webinar - 23 November 2:30pm
Join the first in our series of webinars on young people. TUC Campaigner Clare Coatman will lead the discussion on how unions can engage young workers. 


Apprenticeships, know your rights - interactive guide
This guide explains why a quality Apprenticeship is a great way to earn money while developing skills for a rewarding career, and explains that new apprentices will be entering the world of work but learning as they do so, studying for a qualification, and possibly a degree

Getting by and getting on - A guide for reps about issues affecting young workers
A briefing for reps and officers to help them bargain and create campaigns on issues that young workers care and are concerned about, so that no young person is left behind, and the union movement thrives.

My Union, My Voice - inspiring stories from young trade union reps
This booklet tells the inspiring stories of young workers who not only joined a union, but joined in too!


"I feel like I can't change anything"- Britain’s young core workers speak out about work (PDF)
This report, looks more deeply into labour market trends affecting Britain’s young core workers and sets out the findings of primary research that we carried out as part of our structured innovation programme to find new models of trade unionism.

Living for the Weekend - Understanding Britain’s young core workers (PDF)
This report sets out who the group of young people are that would most benefit from being members of a trade union. It is intended to help unions in their organising efforts and to guide the TUC’s young workers strategy. It sets out some of their key characteristics, some perspectives on their experience of the workplace, and some of the key challenges they face at work. It also attempts to dig deeper – looking at their attitudes and values, and how that guides their behaviour.



Young workers are already making a huge difference – let's get more of them into unions

Right now, we have an image problem – young workers don’t think unions are for other people, not for them. And even if we know differently, we have to get out there and prove it. Getting today’s young workers into unions will transform the future of work, and of our movement. 


To reach young workers, trade unionists need to step outside their comfort zone

Clare Coatman manages the TUC’s programme to reach younger workers. She tells her own story of exploitation at work and how that spurred her to join a union and make a difference.



Young workers deserve a real living wage

Britain needs a pay rise. One in five workers are earning below the real living wage, according to new KPMG research. That translates into 5.5 million people struggling to escape in-work poverty.

For more information

For more information on Young Workers Month contact Jessie Jacobs JJacobs@tuc.org.uk