This year, give young people the gift of opportunity

We’re now in the thick of the festive period – considering gifts for friends and family after a tough year.

I can’t help thinking how disproportionately young people been impacted by the pandemic and what they need after a year of cancelled exams, unfair grades, loss of teaching time, isolation at university, and – according to the London School of Economics – the sharp end of UK-wide job losses.

The LSE study showed that, since the pandemic, more than one in 10 people aged 16-25 lost their jobs, and just under six in 10 experienced a fall in earnings. ‘Generation COVID’ is twice as likely to have lost jobs compared with older employees, and in April only 38 percent of state school pupils benefitted from full school days.

Sixty-eight percent of university students believe coronavirus will affect their future educational achievement – and that translates to job prospects.

Job loss is terrible for anyone, but older workers likely have more experience, contacts, and financial stability on their side.

Those embarking on their careers as coronavirus took hold have likely lost their step up and are finding it impossible to come back due to a lack of experience and opportunity as businesses tighten their belts.

We cannot let the prospects of our bright, young future workforce suffer.

If you’re hiring, now more than ever is the time to offer entry level roles – not just for graduates, but for school leavers too.

And if you can’t recruit, you can open doors. Education and work experience will also prove key to creating employable and skilled young people. Working with schools and colleges to prepare students for the world of work equips them with skills and knowledge they may not gain in the classroom.

There are great organisations ready to help you have a positive impact on young people. At Taranata Group we partner with Career Ready as well as the Hearts FC Community Foundation. Our staff volunteer time with students, giving them the benefit of our knowledge, acting as professional role models, and giving practical work experience – as well as general advice on skills, employability and career opportunities.

Both groups focus on young people from more socially challenged backgrounds, so we’re helping open up a world of opportunity to those who may otherwise face barriers.

Simply offering some time and work experience, if you’re able to, could be vital to a young person looking to enhance their career prospects.

And for what it’s worth, having some fresh thinking injected into the business is not to be sniffed at. There’s mutual benefit to be enjoyed.

Let’s not take the restrictions of 2020 into 2021 with us. Let’s ring in the changes and make 2021 The Year of Opportunity for young people across Scotland.

Simone Lockhart, Taranata Group Commercial Director

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This article first appeared in The Herald Scotland, Business HQ supplement.

The information contained in this article does not constitute business advice and should not be acted on as such. This content is based on our understanding in December 2020. Taranata Group are not liable for the information contained on any third-party websites linked to this article.