Supporting our young people during difficult times

Sally Eley
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Gaining and keeping a good job and earning a salary, is a key development stage for every young person.

But for record numbers of young people in the workforce in 2021, their first professional experience will be the trauma of being made redundant. 

We need to act now to recognise the impact that redundancy can have on young people, limit its legacy and prepare this generation for a more positive professional future.

The industries which have seen the biggest impact from Covid restrictions and lockdowns: Hotels and restaurants, shops and entertainment have all seen large numbers of jobs lost – and are all major employers of the under 25 workforce. Youth redundancies hit a record high of 16.2%, with the under 25s being made redundant at five times the rate they were last year.[i]

It is critical that we act now to provide lifelines for those most in need to enter the workforce in these tough and challenging conditions. We must ensure that every young person has fair chances to access skills training that leads to long-term employment in sustainable jobs, which allow them to develop their potential and build meaningful careers.

We know affordability can be a key blocker preventing people from undertaking vital training and skills development to get back into employment. Our own research found that a third of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds said that they could not afford training, rising to 59% amongst people who are already unemployed[ii]. Through the City & Guilds Foundation, we have awarded £100k in funding to support young people and those facing additional barriers to getting into work to continue to access training and long-term employment opportunities during Covid-19.

It is crucial that people who have been impacted by Covid-19 have the opportunities to retrain. We are working with some excellent charities and organisations whose work is supporting young and vulnerable people though peer mentoring, training, and skills. We have funded training or employment opportunities with organisations including Reprezent Radio, Resurgo, Snow-Camp, CAIS, The Haven Wolverhampton and St Giles to ensure the communities they serve will have the right skills to get jobs available today and ensure they can continue their important work in these uncertain times.

The role of City & Guilds in helping people build skills and find practical routes into employment, no matter what their circumstances, rings truer than ever. We are proud to be supporting organisations and individuals to ensure life chances can be improved during these uncertain times.

Sally Eley is director of the City & Guilds Foundation

  • [i] ns/uklabourmarket/january2021
  • [ii] reskilling-our-way-back-into-work-city-and-guilds-group-pdf.ashx


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