Shielding young people from the economic scarring of the Covid-19 pandemic is going to be a real test for society but possibly one of the most important efforts of government policy in the coming years. However, there is a role for businesses too.
Our young people have suffered badly since the recession of 2008 with unattainable housing, university tuition fee increases and an increasingly competitive job market. A recession sparked by this pandemic is likely to impact them even more.
Whilst in some cases we’re starting to see some bounce back, the extended halt in operations for much of the hospitality, retail and leisure economy since March has had a negative impact on young people. Many, still in education, saw their part-time and weekend work dry up. In April, 141,640 young people aged 16 to 24 started claims for unemployment benefit (jobseeker’s allowance). This number could again increase as the furlough scheme comes to and end and more and more young people will need to compete for fewer jobs.
The Government’s recent announcement of its new kickstarter initiative, which sees increased grants and incentives for businesses who commit to taking on apprentices, is of course an important component of ensuring young people can play their part in our economic recovery. However it is not the only option.
Businesses have a key role to play in helping young people not just with employability but with their wellbeing too. At Nottingham College we believe in the value of work experience for young people. Nottingham College’s Work Experience Team aims to place as many of our students as possible into meaningful and valuable work experiences. Placements can range from one-off days to three-month placements (sector dependent) and we work with businesses and young people to prepare both for the placement. Work Placements can help young people become aware of careers they have not previously considered, enable them to develop relevant occupational skills and help instil the attitudes and behaviours expected at work. Importantly they can support mental wellbeing and provide increased value and purpose to their studies.
This is a real testing time for many employers – the pandemic having impacted recruitment and retention of your own staff as well as your bottom line. Work placements are investments. They are investments of time of course and possibly resource, as we know that young people will need support and guidance during their time with you. However we must also see them as investments in our collective economic future. A skilled and adapted young workforce will have a positive influence on our economic recovery post Covid and our team of work placement officers here at Nottingham College are on hand to work with you to reap the short and long term benefits.
If you think you could take on a young person for a work placement we’d love to hear from you. We are in particular need of employers who can offer work placements in the following areas:
- Hair and Beauty
- Creative industries
Whilst we have paused work placements at the moment, we would love to use this time to work with you, find you the right candidates and help you to develop a portfolio of work that will enable a young person to develop their skills and derive value for both you and them.
We expect to be rolling out placement opportunities this September and we would welcome your support in offering our young people the chance to prove themselves in a work setting.
If work placements aren’t something you can offer, we’d love for you to consider offering some other form of training and development for young people. Perhaps you can devise a project or live brief for a class or course area. Or perhaps you could participate in the design and delivery of elements of our curriculum to make sure we are teaching the skills that you need now, and in the future. We’d love to talk to you about a whole range of ways you could get involved in improving the prospects of our future young job seekers. A pledge from you now would go a long way!
Please contact our business engagement team on 0115 945 7270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.