Young people this year and possibly for years to come are going to face many different challenges as they leave education and move into the world of work. Whilst Covid has had a devastating impact on the health and well-being of people of all ages it has also had a tragic impact on the experiences of young people through their education and journey to work.
In our Youth Friendly Employer Masterclass Webinars we have explored a range of issues facing young people and employers and looked at some strategies and best practice guidance to overcome those challenges.
Youth Employment UK supports employers through the Youth Friendly Employer Mark and we help organisations to understand and embed best youth employment practice. This could not be more important right now as young people coming through Covid-19 are likely to need additional support and access to more good quality opportunities. Through our work we advise organisations about their youth employment strategy and here we have provided some Top Tips on how to think about your strategy in the context of the class of 2020.
1. Review your outreach plans
How will your business provide essential opportunities for young people to learn about work and experience work during lock-down and beyond with social distancing?
- Maintain contact and look at new ways to reach the audience you want to engage, talk directly with local schools and colleges for advice
- Review your online and social engagement approach and explore ways of expanding this
- Get creative with the types of engagement, work experience and online opportunities that you might be able to offer
- Work with youth organisations and local Jobcentres to reach those young people who have now left education and are looking for work
2. Review your recruitment process
Consider that some young people will not have received advice and guidance about applying for jobs online or the types of processes that employers are now adopting. How can you provide more support so that young people do not drop out of your process because they do not understand it or feel that it doesn’t work for them?
- Is your process going to work for young people that have had little support, is this something you can test with young people themselves?
- Do the personal requirements you set out in specifications align with the challenges young people have had, are you asking for work experience when most young people will not have had the opportunity for work experience?
- How will you ensure young people understand how to pass through your process, can you provide training videos or step-by-step guides? Having an Employer Profile on our Careers Hub will allow you to share advice and tips, videos and other resources to help young people before they start the recruitment process.
Young people may start with you with less confidence , experience and even more anxiety than any other cohort. How can you ensure your induction and onboard process accounts for this and has all the extra support young people need to make a successful start with you?
– Really get to know the person on an individual level, understand what Covid experience they have had, what issues there may have been and what their concerns are. From there you can build an understand of the personal support and guidance that might be needed.
– Make sure you help young people to socialise, lock-down has left many young people feeling isolated, so socialising again and integrating into groups may be a little overwhelming. Take this slow and make sure that you provide plenty of opportunities for people to get to know each other and settle back into socialisation.
– Emotional support needs to be available, supporting the well-being of young people is key and providing opportunities for 1-2-1 conversations where young people can talk through their concerns will be important. Make sure staff are trained to do this well and are able to build a rapport with young people and show empathy. Look to invest in mental health and safeguard training for key colleagues. Take a look at this guide.
– Skill development may need to be a priority, if young people have not had the chance to build their “employability skills, skills for work or study skills” you will need to help them acquire those skills. The Young Professional is a great resource for young people to have access to and professionals could use the Skills Builder framework to formalise the learning.
- Mentoring/buddying – we strongly recommend a mentor or buddy to work with young people on a 1-2-1 basis during their first few months. It is a great opportunity for other young people already within the organisation to develop their leadership and people skills.
- Check-in points – regularly check-in with young people and create a culture for honest and open conversations. Young people should feel comfortable to share their concerns and successes with you.
4. Ongoing development
Once young people have settled into your organisation the work should not stop there, Youth Friendly Employers are committed to the ongoing development of their young staff. And rightly so, young people really benefit from development opportunities and often tell us about their interest in learning more and giving more back to the companies they work for.
- Set clear expectations for both the organisation and the young person, that way everyone knows that the development opportunities look like and what is required to get to each stage.
- Detailed training plans where the young person can see what they will learn, when, how and why. This usually empowers young people to grasp those learning opportunities.
- Regular reviews should be schedule that track progress and can be used to iron out any problems or potential issues. It should be a 360 process!
This information should help you think about some of the best practice we would expect to see from our Youth Friendly Employers. If you would like to find more information about the Youth Friendly Employer Mark or our services and member benefits watch this short video or get in touch with the team via firstname.lastname@example.org