Youth employment: a call to action

By Carlotta Stephens, Commercial Director, Maine-Tucker

Skills shortage, youth unemployment

As a corporate member of the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) I recently attended an event at the House of Lords on the topic of youth employment.

Staggeringly there are nearly one million young people in the UK who are neither in work, training or education.

Statistics point to the fact that if you have a gap in your career early on, you are far more likely to have gaps in employment later in life. Considering a huge number of industries are reporting a lack of available talent, there is a lot of work to be done.

The good news is that we all have a part to play. Businesses large and small can help. At Maine-Tucker we regularly hire young and inexperienced candidates and train them up with the skills required to be a success in our industry.

Yes, training complete juniors is labour intensive, but does it pay off? Absolutely! In fact there are huge benefits;

If you have good training programmes in place and are willing to invest the time you can create star new team members, and as you control their training you can ensure they don’t pick up bad habits and that they learn the importance of your processes and procedures. We also find that we learn valuable lessons from our junior staff, who are a key part of our diverse team and I find myself bursting with pride when they achieve successes for the first time. It is extremely rewarding.

Not only do we bring in junior candidates to join our team but we also have a paid internship programme, taking on a candidate from school or university and putting them through an intense training programme where they are up-skilled on all areas of business administration. Once they are ready for the workplace we then find them roles with our clients and so far have had a 100 per cent success rate.

Our key message is to encourage other business owners and managers to do the same, or sign up to the governments apprenticeship schemes, but it doesn’t stop there. To really address the issue we must see more collaboration between the business world and the education community. The majority of students report substandard career advice and a lack of tangible assistance to transition from education to employment. It’s important for businesses to work with schools and universities to share with students tips on entering employment before it’s too late.

With a cohesive approach and collaborative thinking we can solve both the problem of youth unemployment and also address the skills shortage. We need to act now to prevent this issue further damaging our economy and give hundreds of thousands of young people the chance to meet their potential.

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