This is the age of uncertainty – Brexit is ambushing Britain; the rise of ultra-right wing, Eurosceptic parties such as Front National and Alternative für Deutschland is crumbling the EU and so many elections are underway indicating change and instability. Adolescence is a stage of uncertainty too, teenagers are constantly under the pressures of academic studies, as well as having to plan for their future at the same time. The transition period between leaving school and employment can be especially stressful and disorientating.
I represented YEUK not too long ago at the Parliament Outreach session. During a discussion with Iain Wright MP, Chair of Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, and Amanda Milling MP, some young people raised the issue that they do not receive enough support from school or from the government. They went on to say that they do not know how to start in terms of finding work experience opportunities, or even careers advice. During the outreach session with the Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy, I thought of an idea. We needed a scheme providing distance online career advice and training sessions, whilst connecting young people with businesses.
You can imagine my delight to hear that there is something like this! It was absolutely exciting to hear that YEUK is launching the YEUK Young Professional – a project that helps young people understand the skills required to increase employability and develop once in a job. Moreover, more and more businesses are recognising the membership, and have even pledged to provide exclusive opportunities for young people who have achieved the Young Professional status which can be displayed on their CV and online profiles such as LinkedIn.
I was present at the Young Professionals Stake Holders meeting in London as a Youth Ambassador who has personally participated in the project during its beta stage. Experts across different fields who were attending – educators, business leaders, representatives from exam boards and more gave their support to the project.
Shortly after the meeting, I was invited by the Department of Work and Pensions to host a live Q&A session joint with Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, it was extremely rewarding to see how proactive young people are when they are trying to find relevant work experience. One thing is certain that university is not a default setting for everybody thus it is vitally important for young people to keep exploring available options and to increase life skills as they go through education. As a word of advice and the summary of the session, volunteering would be a good way to accumulate contacts and experience, if you cannot find direct work placements.
YEUK has now officially launched the Young Professionals project with the pledge that we would like to see 1000 young people and 200 businesses to sign up with the scheme by the end of October. I am now in the process of setting up an employability day for the Midlands Region with a central focus on the Young Professionals project. In this time of political turbulence, we want to assert confidence, hope and opportunity to young people across the UK, and the YEUK Young Professional will certainly help with that.
The views expressed in this piece and all those written by our Youth Ambassadors and other external contributors do not necessarily reflect the official viewpoint of Youth Employment UK. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not YEUK.