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Business says it's not making the grade on youth employment

31 march 2014
Most young people in Britain don't think the economic recovery will improve their chances of finding a job and want the business community to do more to support them, according to research undertaken by the charity Business in the Community (BITC) to mark the start of Responsible Business Week in partnership with Veolia Environnement.

Just 1% of the businesses surveyed by Business in the Community say they're doing all they can to support the career prospects of young people seeking employment - and the charity is today calling on the other 99% of businesses to ensure that young people are not left behind by the economic recovery by better engaging them at every stage on their journey from school to employment.

Despite a decline in unemployment for other age groups, the rate remains high for young people at 19.8%, meaning over 900,000 16-24 year olds are out of work. A majority (62%) of 16-24 year olds said that they're not confident economic recovery will benefit them, with just 7% very confident about their career prospects. A similar number of young people (61%) feel that they face worse career prospects than their parents did at their age.

Only 8% of young people think that businesses are doing all they can to support the job prospects of young people seeking employment, with the majority (56%) thinking that they're doing too little or nothing to support their employment.

The findings are echoed by the business community, who accept that they aren't lending enough support to young people - with the majority (3 in 5) saying they could do much more.

Other key findings include:

·Most young job seekers (51%) say that they've received less than one hours' contact time from business, suggesting that that despite best intentions, most businesses simply aren't effective at reaching young people.

·3 in 4 (77%) businesses say they engage young people prior to them entering the workforce through work experience, yet less than 2 in 5 (37%) 16-24 year olds say they have actually benefitted from this type of work placement.

·Businesses find it difficult to engage with young people in school, citing barriers such as difficulty in establishing a relationship with the right contact within the school, time pressure on teachers and a lack of structure.

Not all businesses struggle to support and enhance young people's employability. Two fifths (39%) of young people say that the retail sector is particularly good at engaging them, a view shared by 36% of businesses.

Responsible Business Week, which runs from 31 March to 4 April 2014 in partnership with Veolia Environnement, aims to inspire and equip businesses to do more to meet the world's most pressing challenges. One of the central themes for this year's Responsible Business Week is youth employment, and the role that businesses can play to support young people's employability.

Commenting, Stephen Howard, Chief Executive of Business in the Community said: "Businesses recognise that they've got a leading role to play in supporting young people's career prospects, but our research shows that there is a substantial gap between the support businesses offer, and what young people feel they receive.

"We know from the 200 committed businesses supporting 50,000 young people in 350 schools around the country through our Business Class schools programme, that business has an appetite and potential to make a real impact. Indeed, young adults who had experienced four or more employer contacts are five times less likely to be out of work or employment than those who had no engagement with business.

"This Responsible Business Week, we're urging businesses to fulfil this potential, by doing more to lean into the challenge and ensure the economic recovery is inclusive for all young job seekers."

Estelle Brachlianoff, Executive Vice President for Veolia Environnement UK and Northern Europe said: "There's no better way of getting experience than doing the job first hand. As an environmental solutions provider we employ hundreds of apprentices across our business and our role is to harness their ability and then train, mentor, encourage and develop these young people.

"This Responsible Business Week we're going to be meeting with young adults to understand the challenges they face to see if we can help overcome them together. We're bridging the gap to help ensure school leavers will be ready for business!"

Business in the Community is calling on businesses of all sizes to provide meaningful support to young people from school to employment

During Responsible Business Week, the charity is bringing together head teachers, schools, pupils and businesses from around the UK along with representatives from Ofsted, Teach First, and influencers from business and government (including John Cridland, Director General of the CBI and Lord Nash Under Secretary of State for Schools) for an all-day Business Class Education Symposium on Thursday 3 April in London.

The Business Class Education Symposium will see 200 school and business delegates explore how business can more effectively work with schools to support young people, and Business in the Community will be launching new guidance to help businesses provide more effective careers support for young people.

The charity offers a wide range of tools which help employers to:

·Deliver meaningful work experience - Work Inspiration aims to support businesses in making work experience more inspiring and meaningful.

·Form long term partnerships with schools - Business Class offers three-year structured partnerships with schools brokered by Business in the Community.

·Ensure job vacancies reach all young unemployed people - Generation Talent is a joint initiative with the Department for Work and Pensions to help businesses recruit more unemployed young people through Jobcentre Plus.

The entire suite of support is available online, at http://www.bitc.org.uk/youth-unemployment

Case study 1: Veolia Environnement - Back to business: Veolia Environnement's Back to Business scheme has been driving forward its approach to developing apprentices for school leavers. Veolia now has more than 350 apprentices across its business, helping them to learn on the job and gain the vocational qualifications they need to perform a variety of skilled roles - everything from mechanical engineering and HGV driving to customer service and horticulture. Veolia is also part of Business in the Community's Business Class programme, partnered with schools up and down the country to provide coaching, mentoring and work experience opportunities for students to increase their career prospects.

Case study 2: Whitbread Investing in Skills and Employment (WISE): Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants' WISE initiative is a great example of a best practice model for supporting employability and skills among young people. The company is part of the Business in the Community Generation Talent Group, and this project aims to promote the hospitality sector as a meaningful career path and provide work experience placements for young unemployed people. The programme boasts an 80% internal succession rate, and is committed to widening access to career opportunities.

Case study 3: Jaguar Land Rover - Inspiring Tomorrow's Engineers: Inspiring Tomorrow's Engineers addresses the shortage of skilled engineers in the UK - a major barrier to growth in advanced manufacturing - by promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools. Jaguar Land Rover develops long-term partnerships with schools - each site is partnered with at least one school, and it has six education business partnership centres at its plants for young people to visit. To date, the programme has promoted STEM skills to two million young people. Through the programme Jaguar Land Rover is creating a skilled future workforce, motivating employees, boosting productivity and reducing absence - key business benefits with a value of at least £700,000.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Source info: Business in the Community research based on an online survey conducted on Springboard UK against a sample of 503 16-24 year old British residents, plus a separate survey of 102 businesses. Fieldwork took place 7th - 24th March 2014.

Further information:

·Although 56% of businesses offer face to face guidance on understanding the range of careers available, only 1 in 5 (18%) of 16-24 year olds say they have received any.

·Furthermore, 45% of businesses say they offer help and advice on interview techniques, while just 17% of young people receiving such support.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND INTERVIEWS

Ross Gill, FishburnOchuko Adekoya, BITC

ross.gill@thisisfishburn.comOchuko.Adekoya@bitc.org.uk

020 7544 2234020 7566 8650

About Business in the Community

Business in the Community is a business-led charity committed to shaping a new contract between business and society.

We have over 30 years' experience forging better relationships between business and society, driven by a unique collaboration of business leaders. We stimulate action by challenging and supporting thousands of businesses to create a fairer society and a more sustainable future - through our local, national and international campaigns.

Business in the Community is one of The Prince's Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which The Prince of Wales is president.www.bitc.org.uk

About Responsible Business Week

Responsible Business Week aims to inspire and equip businesses to do more to meet the world's most pressing challenges. In doing so, they will unlock innovation and opportunity and demonstrate the positive impact of business in society.

The week brings together businesses, innovators and contributors from around the world through events, debates and online activity. It enables businesses to explore new possibilities for collaboration and develop the bold new ideas, practical action and behaviours necessary to build a fairer society and a more sustainable, prosperous future.

Responsible Business Week is convened by Business in the Community in partnership with Veolia Environnement and Telegraph Media Group with support from, EDF Energy, Goldman Sachs, Nationwide, PwC, Santander, Tata and Waitrose. www.responsiblebusinessweek.org

About Veolia Environnement

Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE and NYSE: VE) is the worldwide reference in environmental solutions. With over 200,000 employees*, the company has operations all around the world and provides tailored solutions to meet the needs of municipal and industrial customers in three complementary segments: water management, waste management and energy management. Veolia Environnement recorded revenue of €22.3 billion* in 2013.(*) Excluding Transdev employees and revenues currently under divestment

Further information can be obtained by visiting the websites:

www.veolia.co.uk

www.veoliaenvironnement.com

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