Businesses can help prepare young people for the workplace

With levels of youth unemployment continuing to cause concern, is there anything businesses can do to help?

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development talks about more engagement – making the labour market itself more youth-friendly, by offering a wider range of access routes into organisations and adapting recruitment methods.

We followed the CIPD’s ‘Learning to Work’ campaign throughout 2013, which was designed to encourage businesses to mentor youngsters wherever possible to help improve their career prospects.

Here at ACR over the years we have supported Young Enterprise to encourage youngsters to understand how business operates; and have engaged with local schools and colleges to offer counselling, training and guidance to students to help prepare them for the world of work.

We have also introduced an enhanced graduate recruitment service which
includes the following:

  • initial cv screening
  • one to one interviews with ACR recruitment partners
  • advice on the local jobs market
  • IT skills assessment
  • training modules where upskilling is required
  • and psychometric testing to highlight styles/traits

Yet too often we have found that young people have not been given the necessary guidance and advice about what it is that employers are looking for in new recruits, and consequently find themselves falling short at the first hurdle.

Research has shown that the gap in expectation and understanding between hirers and young candidates is one of the major contributors to increasing levels of youth unemployment.

Throughout 2014, in a series of campaigns, surveys, reports and informational pamphlets, the CIPD promoted youth engagement. A major focus has been on the responsibility of HR departments to adopt a CSR mentality in pledging their support for a variety of schemes and initiatives designed to help develop crucial business skills in the younger generation.

The business benefits include:

  • increased loyalty: research has shown that those people who undertake their initial training with a certain company are more likely to stay and grow.
  • a new perspective: today’s youth are growing up in a completely new age of communication – the digital age. As businesses continue to get to grips with digital technology, more and more are turning to the younger generation to help them implement social media and online marketing strategies.
  • reduction in skills shortage: this links with the point above. In addition to bringing their own generational skills to the table, young people coming fresh from an education background can be taught, trained and developed to gain skills that meet your business’ standards.
  • a diverse talent pool/workforce: recruitment is all about talent acquisition; finding the best possible candidate to fit a client brief. So why fish in anything less than the broadest pool of talent? Young people can help diversify and re-energise a workforce that may be stuck in a rut.
  • a flexible workforce: young people are generally more open to any and all career opportunities that may come their way. Often free from any familial responsibilities, their attitude and motivation to work can be refreshing.
  • a direct link to a brand new audience: if your product or service is looking to influence a younger customer base, then the personal knowledge a young recruit can provide about their own market is invaluable.
  • Increased productivity: all young recruits will need some sort of training, yet many existing staff are unlikely to have the time to do this. The responsibility subsequently falls to other team members to act as mentors. Many will take pride in doing so, and will most likely surprise themselves with their level of knowledge and expertise. This will in turn lead to a renewed confidence in their abilities and increase their productivity.

So how can we improve engagement with the younger generation?

Get your business involved in school visits/careers fairs, and offer advice and work experience where you can through:

  • apprenticeships
  • internships
  • graduate schemes
  • direct recruitment