8 December 2016 | By Vasi Nadarajah Community

How to help young people into work

With youth unemployment a persistent challenge, work experience is an area where businesses of all sizes can make a difference in giving young people the skills, understanding and confidence to get them into jobs

Youth unemployment is still too high in Britain. Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that there are 857,000 16-24 year olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). They often feel trapped in a cycle: if they have no basic experience, they cannot find a job, and if they don’t have a job, they won’t gain any experience. As a result, many young people feel trapped between a rock and a hard place before their working lives have even started.

This shouldn’t be the case. Businesses can engage with young people who are NEET and provide them with support to successfully go on into the workplace. This isn’t a choice for business: it’s a necessity. As employers, we know that young talent is vital for our businesses and for the economy.

Transforming young lives

Since October 2013, over 240 businesses have come together as part of the Movement to Work coalition to meaningfully transform the lives of young unemployed people. The Movement is the first of its kind in the UK to bring organisations together to collaborate at scale – across the private sector, the public sector, and the third sector - and is supported by both the Government and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The Movement’s model is simple: employers offer high-quality work experience placements to NEETs, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, struggling to identify and take advantage of employment opportunities. Where possible, those placements are linked to jobs. We collaborate with a range of expert delivery partners, including Jobcentre Plus, The Prince’s Trust, Talent Match and Capita to help employers to source candidates and provide support and additional training. The placements offered by our member companies last between four and six weeks and include work experience and developing employability skills. Staff in turn are engaged throughout the programme by conducting taster day interviews, acting as mentors for young people, and delivering vocational skills training.

The young people taking part in our placements get the opportunity to experience different areas within a company and learn new skills. So far, the Movement to Work model is working: our members have provided over 50,000 work placements, and 54 per cent of participants completing their placements have gone on to jobs or apprenticeships or returned to education. We know that young people who have been through pre-employment training are more likely to achieve progress once in employment.

An engaging experience

No matter what sector your business is in or the size of your company, we encourage you to get involved in Movement to Work. Don’t simply take it from me: 91 per cent of Movement to Work employers say they would encourage other companies to join. By offering work experience to young people, your employees have the opportunity to develop crucial communication, leadership and teamwork skills, and your company will be able to recruit young talented people who are loyal and committed to you for the long run.

You can learn more about how to become a Movement to Work employer here