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One Million Chances: CIPD Wales Urge Employers to Open the Door for Young People

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New campaign aims to support young people in their careers after the disruption of Covid-19 and address staff shortages blighting many businesses

With A level Results Day marking a new cohort of young people entering the toughest labour market for a generation, the CIPD has launched its One Million Chances campaign.

The campaign encourages employers across the UK to create a million opportunities for young people (aged 16-30) – be it through jobs, internships, work experience, apprenticeships or the Kickstart scheme – to help undo the damage done by Covid-19.

One Million Chances supports the Welsh Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, which aims to provide everyone under 25 in Wales with an offer of a place in education, training or work or self-employment. The Guarantee will be rolled out from September 2021 and Working Wales will be the gateway for the scheme when launched.

Across the UK, employers including Openreach, Tesco and Dorchester Collections are just some of the UK’s major companies to pledge their support to creating opportunities for young people. CIPD Wales will be working with Welsh employers to encourage them to play their part, and is leading by example, bringing on a graduate to assist with this campaign and its wider work around supporting different groups back into work.

The One Million Chances campaign also complements CIPD Wales’ existing objective, to encourage 10% of their membership – which currently stands at approx. 5,000 individuals representing organisations of all sizes and across all sectors – into volunteering over the next 12 months, including various mentoring initiatives.

New research from the CIPD found that nearly half of all young people in the UK (43%) feel the pandemic has harmed their long-term career prospects. This could be because they’ve lost their job, the industry or organisation they want to work in now has fewer openings, or different ways of working have meant they’ve missed out on networking and development opportunities.

The economy is beginning to recover from Covid-19, but young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Welsh Government analysis shows that young people were more likely to be employed in a shutdown sector, such as hospitality, tourism and leisure (i), with more than 40% of women aged 16-24 employed in shutdown sectors (ii).

In Wales as across the UK, young people were also most likely to be furloughed throughout the pandemic, experiencing indefinite disruption to their careers. Between 1st March and 30th June 2020, 47% of jobs filled by workers aged 24 and under were furloughed for at least some of the time, compared to 32% of all jobs (i).

Lesley Richards, Head of CIPD Wales, said:

“It’s been a tough year, and young people in particular have suffered huge disruption to their education and working lives. Even with many employers now recruiting, young people often still lose out to more experienced workers.

“But opportunities for work experience have also been limited by the pandemic, and after months of insecurity, young people deserve opportunities that will get their career off to a flying start.

“With our network of more than 5,000 individuals, we know that we can make a significant difference to the opportunities for young people in Wales. Our members span a huge variety of sectors, with the potential to offer young people avenues into varied and rewarding careers. As the voice of the People sector in Wales, we want to highlight the importance of investing in young people and the rewards it can bring.

“The aims of our One Million Chances campaign are in line with and support the Welsh Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, calling on employers in Wales to take a chance on young people, to offer them work experience and training that equip them for a successful and dynamic career and allows them to reap the rewards of young people’s creativity and innovation.”

Welsh Government Minister for the Economy, Vaughan Gething MS said:

“This is an important initiative from CIPD which very much supports our Young Persons Guarantee commitment.

“The Guarantee is a key priority for Welsh Government, to help ensure there is no lost generation in Wales following the Covid pandemic.  Everyone under 25 in Wales will benefit from the offer of work, education, training, or self-employment thanks to our ambitious programme.

“This is a key element of our strategy for preventing and tackling youth unemployment and ensuring our young people have the skills and experience they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Of those young people currently out of work who were surveyed by the CIPD across the UK, 50% have been so for 12 months. Half (49%) of all those currently unemployed are not confident about finding any work in the next three months – and even more (72%) aren’t confident about finding a job that meets their career ambitions and salary expectations in the next three months.

One in ten (14%) of those not in work have applied for more than 30 jobs in the last three months and half of those not in work (51%) have not accessed any support services to help them look for work.

Nearly half (45%) of those who are not currently in work, but looking for employment, attended university.

The survey also finds discord among young people in work, with 14% feeling that working from home has damaged their career prospects and 22% feeling dissatisfied in their main job.

To coincide with the campaign launch, the CIPD has released a new guide for employers on the UK’s various youth employment and training programmes. It aims to help organisations decide which programme can help them to meet their workforce challenges. CIPD Wales will be supplementing this with a Wales-specific guide ahead of the Young Person’s Guarantee implementation date of 1 September 2021.

Employers can pledge their support for the campaign by using #1mChances on social media to share the opportunities they are making available for young people in Wales.