A new report on youth unemployment titled ‘Precarious Futures’ by the UKCES confirms our concerns about labour market opportunities for future generations. TUC Secretary General, Frances O’Grady said recently that job prospects for many young people have deteriorated alarmingly.
Although improving, we know that only one in four employers offer work experience placements to young people in education and just 15% of employers have or offer apprenticeships to young people.
Structural changes in the labour market mean that young people are competing with older and more experienced workers, who have been forced to trade down for the lower and mid level jobs that young people would normally take.
The Careers Alliance has launched a #futuretalent campaign backed by over 50 employers, professional bodies and education organisations, including Atkins, Capgemini, Deloitte, National Grid, Siemens, Wates, the ACCA, the Bar Council, the Chartered Management Institute, the ICAEW, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards, Creative & Cultural Skills, and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation amongst many others.
It is not enough for employers to just offer more work opportunities for young people now. The Royal Academy of Engineering’s report on “Jobs and Growth” forecasts that the UK economy will require 830,000 professional scientists, engineers and technologists over the next decade alone. There is a long term skills issue that must be addressed by bringing education and training and the labour market closer together.
This is why employers and the Careers Alliance are calling for collaborative action between professional careers advisers, employers and schools and colleges in providing careers advice and guidance to young people by:
- Highlighting the importance of careers education and guidance in schools and colleges.
- Framing employer contributions as part of professionally managed careers programmes and not as ad hoc initiatives.
- Affirming that, working together within a planned careers programme, employers and career professionals can provide far more effective help to young people than either could do on their own.
The #futuretalent campaign challenges current Government policies by highlighting the importance of collaborative action in career guidance. This contrasts with the Government’s latest Statutory Guidance to schools which has emphasised contributions from employers and people in jobs to inspire and motivate young people in schools and colleges about the world of work, but makes little reference to the role of careers advisers, nor explains how such links between employers and schools and colleges can best be brokered.
The Careers Alliance, which is made up of more than twenty of the country’s largest skills and education organisations, reports that the inputs from employers and careers advisers need to be integrated into well-planned careers programmes in schools.
Commenting on the campaign, Dame Ruth Silver, Chair of the Careers Alliance, said: ‘There remains a disconnect between education and the world of work. Our joint call with employers shows that collaborative action is the best solution; employers say they can’t do it all on their own. Employers endorse this call by the Careers Alliance for partnership working to get careers guidance in schools and colleges right.’
Toby Peyton-Jones, Director of Human Resources at Siemens plc said: ‘Siemens would like to fully endorse the call for collaborative action by the Careers Sector Stakeholders Alliance by adding our support for driving structured and sustained collaboration between schools and employers in preparing young people for the world of work.’
Steve Holliday, CEO at National Grid said: ‘We know employers can play a more active role educating school children about the world of work. We would like to add our support to the Careers Alliance statement about improving the links between employers, schools and career advisory services to lead to better informed young people considering their career options.’