Karen Brady calls on businesses to support young talent and tackle skills gap

Writing in her Huffington Post blog the West Ham FC Vice-Chairman said that the UK needs businesses to recognise under-25s as a talent pool that can help businesses grow and develop young workers’ skills.

She says: “What we need is relatively simple: businesses to recognise that those under 25 could become a talent pool that will help them grow but they have an active role to play in helping them understand and then develop the skills that are needed. It could start with offering work experience, a traineeship or apprenticeship.

What’s important is realising this interaction will inspire a young person about what their future could hold and directly influence their success. Especially for the one in six who grow up in families where neither parent is employed (ONS: 2013). In fact, research tells us that the number of interactions that young people have with businesses can directly affect their future salary by thousands of pounds by their mid-20s.

“Of course, the benefit isn’t ‘only’ to the young person or the local community in which every business operates. It goes two-ways; businesses can play a part in actively tackling the skills gap that too many face when they recruit at entry level.

“As I have found from offering work experience at West Ham, businesses also learn from determined, passionate young people. This insight includes what today’s consumers are looking for in a brand or how to make your business and sector attractive to talented young people.”

Brady offered optimism that companies would not have to tackle the issue alone with many resources already available to help companies connect with schools to offer work experience.