Employability justice with Career Ready

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To understand the immediate and longer-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the employment prospects of young people, we recently launched a youth employability research project. We are asking educators, employers, and charity/community partners to complete a short survey to help us identify how under-served communities have been supported through the challenges of the past 18 months, and what changes must be made to become a society that can better support social mobility.

 

Our belief that every young person deserves the opportunity to kickstart a rewarding future is shared by UK social mobility charity, Career Ready. In this blog from the charity team, find out how and why we’ve joined forces to turn our research into positive action.

 

The past 18 months have been challenging for all of us, and young people – particularly those already facing barriers – have sadly borne the brunt.

In Spring 2020, 69% of students on the Career Ready programme felt their education would suffer or had suffered because of the pandemic, and just 54% felt positive about their employment prospects. This is something we are still seeing and hearing every week when working with educators and employers to deliver our careers-based programmes for young people.  

At Career Ready, we work with a UK-wide network of employers and educators to boost social mobility and give undiscovered talent a platform from which to flourish. Our careers-based programmes give young people aged 11-18 the key skills, confidence, and experiences they need to kickstart their futures. Our programmes also give employers the opportunity to connect with diverse young talent, develop their people through volunteering, and make a difference in their community.

"I could not be more grateful for my Career Ready experience. Not only did it help me find the right career path, but also gain the experience and key skills I needed to succeed in the workplace. To this day, I love working at Baker McKenzie and I simply wouldn’t be here without my internship."

Tegan Duffy, Career Ready Alumna and Legal Personal Assistant at Baker McKenzie

Throughout the pandemic, we have been taken aback by how employers of all sizes and sectors have shown their support for young people. Working with businesses across the country, we were able to support over 2,000 young people through virtual activities and redesigned all our programmes to run digitally until it would be safe to resume face-to-face activity. Despite missing out on transformational paid internships last year, 79% of students said virtual work experience helped them feel prepared for work and 95% of employers found value in engaging with young people virtually.

Unfortunately, this is not the whole picture and there is a great deal of work still to be done. Across the board, the pandemic has caused existing gaps to widen – whether it’s the disparity in top grades between state and private schools, lost income for those in retail or hospitality jobs, or the fact that more than 420,000 pupils have become eligible for free school meals since the first lockdown.

We believe that if we all work together, we can help young people overcome these barriers, create inclusive workplaces, and address skills gaps.

That’s why we’re delighted to be working with Sparta Global to research the impact of COVID-19 on employability justice. We share common values around inclusivity, diversity and equality, and this piece of work will be crucial in helping organisations of all sizes and types to recognise, and take steps to mitigate, the effects of this pandemic on young people, employers, and the economy.

We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to Sparta Global for donating £5 to Career Ready for every completed survey response. This will go directly towards helping us support young talent across the UK, providing them with the experiences, insights, and skills they need to reach their potential.

 

If you want to have your say in our youth employability survey and contribute to the work of Career Ready, click below to complete the appropriate survey:

University survey

Industry survey

Charity/community partner survey