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Feature


Charitable Causes, Promotion & Partnership


How businesses can support youth unemployment


By Tom Clarke-Forrest, founder and CEO at Sport 4 Life UK


impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. But there is hope and with the right support in place, businesses across Greater Birmingham can make a real difference. To my mind, there are four key ways in which they can do this:


I


1. Embrace the KickStart Scheme We’ve all heard of the World War II campaign ‘Dig for Victory’ in response to the conflict-induced food rationing. Similarly, as we combat the pandemic we should ‘Employ for Victory’ to help our young people secure the future they deserve. Businesses can do this by taking part in the Government’s KickStart Scheme, which provides funding for new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds who are on Universal Credit and are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply. Further funding is also available


for training and support while on the scheme. Sport 4 Life UK can help with setting up placements, as well as delivering and supporting the training and employability for the young people, to ensure companies and young people optimise the benefits of participating in this scheme.


2. Employ more young people There’s a compelling business case for employing more young people. With young people, businesses are able to shape their workforce to suit existing and emerging needs - especially if cohorts of their clients include younger generations. This is particularly pertinent


when it comes to technology, whose adoption is now critical to the survival of many businesses - those who don’t innovate risk being left behind. But as digital natives, tech-savvy young people bring a wealth of knowledge, understanding, creativity,


52 CHAMBERLINK June 2021


t’s been well reported that young people have suffered some of the biggest economic


innovation and energy that many organisations may not have known they needed. Additionally, an increasingly


young workforce gives businesses a competitive advantage. Consumers exercise choices in favour of those organisations with positive social values - which includes those responding to the challenge of youth unemployment. In addition to this, there is strong evidence that recruiting and investing in young people encourages loyalty and reduces attrition - key long- term indicators of workforce success.


3. Make recruitment as youth friendly as possible The way organisations recruit can sometimes hinder young people’s employment chances. Recruiting informally, through networks - often less accessible to young people - can create a real barrier to finding work for the next generation. Without a doubt, there’s scope


for employers to do more to ensure that their recruitment practices are youth friendly. Critically evaluating


internal recruitment processes and policies is vital to making progress in this area. In particular, the use of qualifications should only be used as filters when absolutely necessary and when essential to jobs in question. Business can also sign up to the ‘Good Youth Employment Charter’ with our friends at Youth Employment UK: youthemployment.org.uk/the- good-youth-employment-charter/


4. Offer ‘encounters’ within the workplace Young people need support to compete with older jobseekers, and action must be focused on improving young people’s relative job prospects. Part of this solution includes


hiring apprentices, allowing young people to gain work experience while still learning. Training apprentices from scratch is often far more cost effective than bringing in and hiring already skilled staff, which in turn reduces overall training and recruitment costs. In addition, businesses can promote a positive culture of


exposing local young people (both current jobseekers, and those still in education) to the workplace through mock interviews, career days, mentoring schemes or workplace tours. This will dramatically improve job prospects and increase earning potential for the young people involved.


Sport 4 Life UK can help your business Employers have a fundamental contribution to make in tackling youth unemployment. They can provide key job opportunities which enable young people to enter the labour market, as well as engage with young people in other ways to help them prepare for the world of work. Not only is this socially and ethically progressive, it makes business sense. And it’s the solution we need for a speedy economic recovery.


To find out more about how Sport 4 Life UK can help your business make a difference to young people across the West Midlands, go to: sport4life.org.uk/work-with-us


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