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Sunday, September 30, 2012

CIPD urge employers to engage more with young people

Too few employers are engaging with young people at school or college to build their employability skills or provide work experience placements.

That's according to new research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development launched today at a Department for Work and Pensions Employer Forum hosted by the CBI. The research is the latest output from the CIPD's Learning to Work campaign, set up to encourage more employers to invest in tomorrow's workforce.

Findings reveal that the majority of respondents (71 per cent) believe that they have a role to play in helping to tackle youth unemployment but a quarter of employers have not employed anyone aged 16- to 24 in the last 12 months, irrespective of whether they are a graduate or not.  Worryingly, six in ten employers don't offer any routes into their organisation for non-graduates and only 56 per cent are planning to do so in the coming year.

The research suggests some employers have negative perceptions of young people, which deters them from investment in this generation.  The good news, however, is that among employers that have recruited young people, perceptions of this untapped group of talent are positive. Nine out of ten employers who have recruited a young person are either very satisfied (26 per cent) or fairly satisfied (65 per cent) with the young people they have recruited.

Peter Cheese, CEO at the CIPD, said: "Employing young people has clear benefits to business and society, but there is some work to do in encouraging and supporting more employers to take on and develop young people.

"Addressing the gap between perceptions and reality is a key priority for the CIPD's Learning to Work campaign - it's not only fundamental to reducing youth unemployment and the long-term scarring effects it can have on young people, but it's also essential in building our future skills base."

The report highlights a number of case studies that identify the various business imperatives that make young people a vital component of many employers' workforce, as well as the practices needed to make it happen:

• The need to build a pipeline of talent for tomorrow's workforce

• The benefits of employing a diverse workforce that reflects the organisation's customer base

• The potential to strengthen the employer brand by demonstrating that the organisation is actively engaging with its community

• The cost benefits associated with investing in training and development at a young age

• How to build positive work experience programs and apprenticeships, and the best routes to working with schools and colleges, job centres and other partners to identify and attract young people.

"The step change that is needed to improve education to work transitions will not be achieved through good will and government policy alone. Our research shows that many employers don't always understand the benefits young people can bring to their organisation," Cheese added.

"We need to make the business case crystal clear. We need to promote the best routes for young people in to employment, including apprenticeships, and highlight how employers can best engage with schools and colleges to work with young people in raising work awareness and employability skills. Government needs to continue to promote the issues and opportunities, as well as encourage businesses through funding schemes and other support mechanisms."


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