One Million Chances: Helping young people connect to the world of work

The CIPD’s One Million Chances campaign aims to create a million opportunities for young people to help them connect to the world of work.

The pandemic has severely affected young people’s career prospects; they’re more likely to have lost their jobs and the economic slowdown means there are fewer opportunities for them to find meaningful work. 

New CIPD research finds that 50% of young people (18-30-year-olds) who are currently out of work have been so for 12 months, and half (49%) of those unemployed are not confident about finding any work in the next three months. 

It has also been reported that many employers are struggling with staff shortages, highlighting the need for more organisations to invest in young people in different ways to bolster their talent pipeline.

Lizzie Crowley, senior skills adviser at the CIPD, says: “We want to help young people get their careers off to a flying start, as unemployment at a young age can leave permanent scarring. It means they’re more likely to earn less over the course of their working lives and experience more spells of unemployment.

“More employers also need to take a chance on young people – and be prepared to train them up – given our labour supply is changing and staff shortages are becoming more prevalent. We also don’t want them to miss out on the creativity, ingenuity and energy young people can bring to an organisation.”

As organisations set out on the post-pandemic road to recovery, providing young people with employment and training opportunities has never been more vital. Which is why the CIPD is calling on employers to create a million opportunities for young people through jobs, internships, work experience, mentoring, apprenticeships, T-Levels or the Kickstart scheme.

Many employers have already pledged their support, including Tesco, Openreach, Dorchester Collection and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and the CIPD will be showcasing employer case studies throughout the coming months.

Kevin Gaughan, director resourcing, learning & development at Openreach, explains why they’re supporting the campaign:

“At Openreach, we believe passionately in giving young people a chance, so we’re proud that over the last three years we’ve recruited more than 7,800 new apprentices – providing them with world class training, ‘on the job’ experience and life-long NVQ qualifications.

“We’re now investing billions of pounds to build a new, ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network throughout the UK and we can’t do that without a great team.

“By focusing on hiring the right individuals with the right attitude – rather than minimum educational qualifications – we’re bringing even more young people into our field and office-based teams, and the results speak for themselves. It’s helping young people take their first steps into a great career and it’s helping us to build and enhance our brilliant team – so it’s a massive win-win.”

To coincide with the campaign launch, the CIPD has released a new guide for employers on the UK’s various youth employment and training programmes. It aims to help organisations decide which programme can help them to meet their workforce challenges.

Individually, people professionals can help make a difference to young people’s career prospects through the CIPD’s Steps Ahead Mentoring and Enterprise Adviser volunteer

Megan, a Steps Ahead mentee, signed up to the programme to access support for young people looking for work and was matched with Diana, her Steps Ahead mentor and HR consultant. Speaking of how she benefited from the programme, Megan said: “Diana was always on hand. She let me text her if I felt nervous about an interview and at each stage of the application. I felt like she wanted me to get the job as much as I did.

“The mentoring I got from CIPD was very personal and shaped towards my needs as a young person, rather than the standard job seekers advice that you could access yourself online. Diana really tailored the mentoring to my needs and the challenges I needed help with.”

Megan is now working at an NHS foundation trust as a graduate information analyst.

Now more than ever, young people like Megan need to be given a chance.

Find out more about the CIPD’s One Million Chances campaign




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