Policy Report

Employers: learning to work with young people

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Employers: learning to work with young people

Published July 2014

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Tackling youth unemployment is now recognised as a major issue by policy-makers and charities. Employers are also increasingly taking notice, especially amongst those with an interest in engaging with their local communities and growing their own talent. Today, the public debate focuses very much on the difficult education-to-work transition young people have when they first enter the labour market and there are numerous initiatives, for both employers and young people, that aim to help smooth this transition.

However, this hasn’t always been the case. Until quite recently the public narrative was far less youth-friendly: in 2012, when the CIPD launched its Learning to Work programme, words such as ‘clueless’, ‘lazy’ and phrases such as ‘lack motivation to work’ were frequently reported in the media to describe young people.

Since Learning to Work was launched two years ago we have witnessed a real shift in terms of employer attitudes and behaviour around the issue of youth unemployment. Levels of youth unemployment are finally beginning to fall, and although there is still a long way to go, as evidenced when you examine the labour market statistics (outlined in the next section), businesses are starting to take action. In this report we have looked back on youth employment over the last few years and highlighted some of the key ways in which employers can help prepare young people for work and bring them into their organisations.

Find out more about the Learning to Work programme.

Contents of the report:

  • Introduction
  • Youth unemployment: The economic picture
  • Youth unemployment: Employer action
  • Conclusion