With tomorrow’s A level results day marking a new cohort of young people entering the toughest labour market for a generation, the CIPD is today launching its One Million Chances campaign.  

 It aims to get employers to create a million opportunities for young people (aged 16-30) – be it through jobs, internships, work experience, apprenticeships T-Levels or the Kickstart scheme – to help undo the damage done by Covid. Openreach, Tesco and Dorchester Collection are just some of the UK’s major companies that have already pledged their support. 

New survey data from the CIPD, based on responses from 2,064 young people (aged 18 – 30), finds that 43% of them feel the pandemic has harmed their long-term career prospects. This may be because they’ve lost their job, the industry or organisation they want to work in now has fewer openings, or working from home has meant they’ve missed out on networking and development opportunities.  

While the economy is recovering from Covid, official figures show there were 166,000 fewer young people (16-24) in the UK in employment in June 2021 (3.7million) compared with March 2020 (3.9million). Conversely, it has also been reported that many employers are struggling with staff shortages, highlighting the need for more organisations to invest in young people in different ways to bolster their talent pipeline.  

According to the CIPD’s survey, 50% of young people who are currently not in work have been so for 12 months. Half (49%) of those 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.   

The survey also finds that one in ten (14%) young people not in work have applied for more than 30 jobs in the last three months, and over half of those not in work (51%) have not accessed any support services to help them look for work. 44% of those who are not currently in work, but looking for employment, attended university. 

Lizzie Crowley, senior skills adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: 

"While Brexit and much talk of staff shortages in recent months may give the impression that it should be easy for young people to walk into a job, they are still often left at the back of the queue because employers tend to favour experienced workers. 
"We want to help young people get their career off to a flying start as unemployment at a young age can leave permanent scarring - and means they’re more likely to earn less over the course of their working lives and experience more spells of unemployment.

“More employers also need to take a chance on young people - and be prepared to train them up - given our labour supply is changing and staff shortages are becoming more prevalent. We also don’t want them to miss out on the creativity, ingenuity and energy young people can bring to an organisation.” 

Kevin Gaughan, director resourcing, learning & development, Openreach, said:  

"At Openreach, we believe passionately in giving young people a chance, so we’re proud that over the last three years we’ve recruited more than 7,800 new apprentices - providing them with world class training, ‘on the job’ experience and life-long NVQ qualifications.

“We’re now investing billions of pounds to build a new, ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network throughout the UK and we can’t do that without a great team.

“By focusing on hiring the right individuals with the right attitude – rather than minimum educational qualifications – we’re bringing even more young people into our field and office based teams, and the results speak for themselves. It’s helping young people take their first steps into a great career and it’s helping us to build and enhance our brilliant team – so it’s a massive win-win.”

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.

The CIPD also offers jobseekers (aged 18 - 24) help with CV writing, job searching and interview technique through its Steps Ahead Mentoring programme. Mentors are CIPD members who are all HR and recruitment professionals. 

Employers can pledge their support for the campaign by using #1mChances and find out more by visiting: www.cipd.co.uk/onemillionchances

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