Employers Fail To Make The Grade In Youth Engagement

Commenting, on the eve of the exams results, Peter Cheese, Chief Executive at the CIPD, said: “Many 15-16 year olds and their parents will be nervously anticipating GCSE results. CIPD research has shown that many young people fear that they will struggle to find jobs and establish their future careers. Last week’s employment figures also highlighted that, while overall unemployment went down, youth unemployment is on the rise. There are some great examples of employers who are seeking to address this trend by implementing youth engagement strategies, creating apprenticeship opportunities or school leaver programmes. These organisations should be congratulated for their great work. However, there remains a significant proportion of employers who are not doing enough to engage with young people to help them to build the work skills they will need, and at the same time to build the future workforce their organisations need. Business has a key role to play in developing our young people in order to bridge employability gaps and skills mismatches. We cannot simply expect governments or education systems to churn out off-the-shelf employees.”

Also commenting, Katerina Rüdiger, Head of Skills and Policy Campaigns at the CIPD, said: “There are lots of ways and opportunities for businesses to engage with young people. Indeed, many of our members have demonstrated innovative practices when it comes to championing young people in their organisations. There has also been fantastic support for CIPD youth volunteering initiatives – with over 2,000 HR professionals signed up to help build employability skills in young people. These individuals and organisations deserve recognition for their contribution. However, the recent CIPD recruitment data highlights the need for many organisations to try harder to bring young people in. This is crucial if we are to escape a future skills shortage and avoid creating a generation of people who are disillusioned with the world of work.”

The CIPD Learning to Work programme is seeking to increase the number of access routes being offered to young people by employers, and provides guidance on implementing high quality work experience opportunities, apprenticeships and internships. The CIPD also champions two volunteering initiatives that facilitate employer engagement with young people – Inspiring the Future and Steps Ahead Mentoring. Across both schemes, more than 2,000 volunteers are signed up to help young people with their employability skills.

Inspiring the Future matches volunteers with local state secondary schools and colleges to help students with their CVs, conduct mock interviews and give them a greater understanding of how they can prepare for an apprenticeship and the world of work. Those interested in registering for free for Inspiring the Future can find further information here: www.cipd.co.uk/inspiringfuture.