Designing the New Youth Employment Hub for West Library together

A collage of the West Library

Since autumn 2020, architects Public Works have been working with young people from the Cally to design a new Youth Employment Hub, which will be housed on the currently disused first floor hall at West Library.

In November, the design team was joined by Josh and Mae, two young people from the Cally, as part of a paid placement opportunity created through the We Are Cally project.

“From early talks with different local youth organisations it became clear that the project could offer training and placement opportunities, especially in the design stages,” says Carlotta from the architects team.

“We wanted to work with local young people to get input and feedback on the look of the design, making sure the new hub would relate to and welcome young people of Cally.”

Carlotta says: “We had the pleasure to host a number of on-site and online design workshops at Copenhagen Youth Project and Light Project Pro International. Local young people are the ones who know what could work for them and we wanted to make sure their voice is heard during all stages of the project.”

Josh and Mae have been working with the design team – getting paid the London Living Wage and getting first-hand experience of the world of work – for three half days a week for three months, ending in February 2021. To get the placement, they had to go through a full application process and telephone interview.

“We were so happy to meet Mae and Josh and welcome them into our team” says Carlotta. “We hope this placement can create the blueprint for future training and job opportunities – it can be a stepping stone towards more project-led mentorship opportunities. A channel of trust with local young people and with the amazing local youth organisations.”

As part of their placement Mae and Josh have been working on the development of two mobile units that could become pop-up displays to showcase local talent.

As part of the design process, Mae and Josh worked on making models and presented their design findings to residents. The designs they developed are crucial to shape the identity of the new hub and provide a young prospective towards the beautiful first floor hall at West Library.

Mae and Josh explain more…

Why did you apply for this placement with We Are Cally?

Josh: “It would help my career and provide an insight in what the world of work could look like. It gives me the opportunity to help the local community as well.”
Mae: “I didn’t have any work experience and I thought it would have been a good opportunity. I am very interested in interior design.”

How do you think a new youth employment hub for Cally could support you and your future?

Josh: “It would help me look for jobs and receive advice. It would be great to speak to people who are in the sector already.”
Mae: “It’s like a job centre for young people. A place where you feel comfortable speaking to people who get to know you and they can help you achieve your goals.”

What do you think design can do to create spaces for young people?

Josh: “I like the tool storage, so you can always hire out equipment.”
Mae: “Create 1:1 space for counselling which is comfortable and welcoming. The event space to hold events and workshops is also great.”

What skills are you learning now what are you planning to learn in the future?

Josh: “I would like to work more on digital models – I hope to do more of this in the remaining weeks of placement. Sketchup and Lumion.”
Mae:”I would like to explore more different model making techniques. I’d also like to see how people talk about the project in the meetings.”

What has been the most enjoyable moment of this placement so far?

Josh: “Meeting new people and getting some work experience.”
Mae: “Researching for inspiration on Pinterest!”

Would you like more paid placement opportunities like this to become more available through the new youth employment hub?

Josh: ”Yes definitely.”
Mae: “Yes.”

Find out more about the new Youth Employment Hub at West Library.

Hard copies of the workshop reports and feedback forms are available at and can be returned to the ‘We are Cally’ letterbox at the entrance of the Jean Stokes Community Centre.

If you have any queries please contact public works architects at 079 2671 0660 or email.

The consultation for this project will close on Monday 1 February 2021.

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