MP’s son among panel grilling prospective youth workers

James Lidington (right) and Lloyd Baker (left) on an interview panel
James Lidington (right) and Lloyd Baker (left) on an interview panel

The son of Aylesbury MP David Lidington is among those on a panel of youngsters grilling prospective youth workers at their job interviews.

The Bucks County Council scheme recruits young people aged between 13 and 19 who then interview staff for the potential posts.

Teenagers are paid £25 in vouchers for half a day’s work during which they sit on a three person panel and grill the candidates.

The same process happens with a more traditional panel of experienced council interviewers however it is often the input of the young people which becomes the crucial factor.

James Lidington, 16, from Princes Risborough and the son of Europe Minister David Lidington, said: “It’s a great way for us to gain skills for interviewers in the future.”

The council has now launched a drive to recruit more youngsters onto the panel.

Simon Billeness, senior practitioner for the council’s youth service said: “Ultimately, we don’t want to employ a youth worker who is academically brilliant but is then unable to engage young people.

“This is a very real way of young people influencing the services delivered for them.”

Mike Appleyard, the council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “This is a fantastically effective project for us.

“We all accept that anyone working with young people must have their qualifications and suitability thoroughly checked out.

“So it’s only right that part of this process involves the young people themselves.

“After all, what good is a youth worker who can’t in reality work with the youths themselves?”

Young people are recruited for the panels from schools, colleges and voluntary organisations, but anyone else aged between 13-19 who is interested in taking part should send an email to or contact 01296 382448.