Youth unemployment has been at very high levels since 2010, some areas of Kent still have very high proportions of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). Kent County Council has made a real commitment to addressing the youth unemployment issues and supporting all young people with improved information and services to help them into education, employment or training.
One of the greatest challenges faced by young people is that they lack work experience, many employers choosing to recruit candidates with experience on their CV rather than education leavers. There are also only a small number of employers offering to mentor or talk to young people so that when they leave education they have some expectation and ideas about the world of work.
According to the UKCES only 1 in 4 employers support work experience or careers learning in schools and this is adding to the issues facing young people.
In 2012 Youth Employment UK CIC created the national Youth Friendly Badge. This badge is awarded to employers of all sizes who commit to supporting young people in some way. The badge is free to apply for and requires a minimum commitment to two youth friendly activities per year – supporting mock interviews, career talks, work experience etc.
“The Youth Friendly badge aims to reward those organisations helping young people in their communities and encouraging those that don’t to get involved in some way. We know that for some companies it is not possible to commit lots of staff, resources or even recruit young people, that’s why we recognise the small stuff like a careers talk in a school and helping with mock interviews. Having some advice on an interview technique or hearing from an employer can make a huge difference to a young person’s chances of employment success and we definitely need to create more of those opportunities” Laura-Jane Rawlings CEO of Youth Employment UK CIC
Kent County Council was the first Council in England to apply for the badge; they have been awarded the highest standard – Gold. This means that the Council has demonstrated its own commitment to young people but that it also is going to promote the good practice to suppliers and its network of employers.
The Local Authority will shortly be launching the new Choices website www.kentchoices4u.com which offers all 16,000 Year 11 students in the County a personal account to support their Post 16 choices to participate. The website will be packed with a wide range of careers and education support and information for 16-24 year olds. In addition KCC is also running its own campaign to increase the number of apprenticeships in the County, a careers magazine to be sent to every Year 11 in the County and is hosting a careers event on March 25th and 26th 2015 in partnership with Medway LA, for in excess of 5,000 young people, with over a 100 employers present.
KCC and Youth Employment UK CIC will be working together on a project with MP’s from the County to promote the Youth Friendly badge and encourage local businesses to be recognised for the work they do to support young people or start to think about how they may get involved. “Together we want to create a Youth Friendly culture in Kent, by encouraging MP’s and employers to support young people at various stages of their education or employment journey we can expect to see a reduction in the skills gap and a more work-ready labour force coming into the jobs market. The result of a Youth Friendly community is of benefit to everyone. I am delighted that Kent County Council is so keen to path the way for others” Says Laura-Jane
These events will take place throughout November and December.
Contact: Laura-Jane Rawlings 07748744049
Note to editors
- About Youth Employment UK CIC (YEUK)
Youth Employment UK CIC (YEUK) is the national campaigning and membership organisation dedicated to tackling youth unemployment. Its members include 16-24 year olds, employers, educators and youth organisations. Bringing together a collective voice for all of those invested and affected by youth unemployment.
Website: www.yeuk.org.uk Twitter @YEUK2012
About Kent County Council Skills & Employability Service
The Skills and Employability Service has the ambition to
Our ambition is for all young people in Kent to become better qualified and more employable; to be able to participate and achieve success in education and work based training at least until the age of 18; and to ensure more 18 to 24 year olds can access higher learning or sustained employment that is appropriate to their needs and relevant to the local and national economy.
The ambition can only be realised by the Local Authority working in partnership with all stakeholders, of which employers are central.