Thursday, 31 October 2013

Businesses Can Help Themselves by Helping Young People

As the clocks go back, it's clear that winter is coming and we're racing to the end of another year. So, as is traditional, it's the time when I reflect on the year that's been. For me, 2013 marked the start of the upturn, when more businesses across the UK began to feel confident about their future. It's also marked by a mood change in the public as they came to expect more from business beyond chasing return. All areas of business life have come under scrutiny as customers demand transparency and a moral element to its practices.
One of the most impactful aspects of business behaviour is the approach taken to employment, especially when it comes to the recruitment of young people. David Cameron's recent call for more rigorous academic training during apprenticeships is just one example of how seriously youth employment is being taken by everyone from the government down. Reading Alan Milburn's State of the Nation report makes it obvious why action needs to be taken. It found that this generation of young people will, for the first time, be worse off than their parents and those most affected will, as always, be children from low and middle income families. This makes me both sad and frustrated. Addressing these issues will be difficult but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
So, it was heartening to see that the City of London Corporation has started to place young people from state schools into paid traineeships in prestigious firms. It's a great example of how schemes connecting businesses directly with young people can make a huge different to employability. It mirrors my experience as chair of the LifeSkills Advisory Council. Change can be achieved when businesses are bought together with schools, education specialists, parents and government....READ MORE

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