When the UK Chancellor unveiled a £2bn ‘kick start jobs scheme’ for young people in early July – which will see the government subsidise job placements for 16-24 year-olds on Universal Credit – it was done so with the goal of preventing an entire generation being “left behind” from COVID-19. Like in the 2008 financial crisis, where the path to career growth was limited for many of the Millennial generation, the fallout from COVID-19 is touted to impact Generation Z in a similar manner.
Yet many organisations are still striving to ensure that young people do not become the economic victims of COVID. One of these is Movement to Work (MtW), a collaboration of UK employers committed to tackling youth unemployment and driving social mobility through high-quality work experience. It aims to reduce the number of people who are ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET) in the UK.
We recently spoke to Dal Channa, Interim CEO at MtW, on the work that the organisation performs, and why young people are so crucial to our economic recovery:
Tell us some of the achievements of MtW.
So far over 90,000 work placements have been made possible by employers, charities and the government working together through MtW. Collectively they have provided young people with diverse and empowering experiences ranging from hospitality to engineering. Working with MtW, employers create work experience placements for unemployed young people between 16 and 30 years of age, particularly those who have been out of work, education or training for some time.
Why is youth unemployment still such an important issue?
Whilst there has been some progress in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest threat to young people and their career prospects for over a decade. We know that when we empower young people and welcome them into our industries, they not only forge brighter futures for themselves – they also go on to add real value to our businesses, and they improve our whole society. Now, more than ever, we need to provide young people with the support to thrive at work and acknowledge their vital role in our economic recovery.
How is MtW responding to COVID-19?
Emerging research suggests disadvantaged young people will be amongst the worst affected groups as a result of COVID-19, yet we believe they could be the smartest solution to rebuilding our workforces. We’ve launched our MtW COVID-19 response campaign and over the coming weeks and months we’re focusing on supporting our network with resources and advice during these times. We’ve also founded our MtW Youth Ambassador group to get ideas straight from young people to stay relevant.
If interested in learning more about Movement to Work, please visit their website. You can also find more insights about nurturing the next generation of talent in the eleventh edition of our Human Age newspaper.