The Young Person’s Guarantee delivers support for companies to invest in the next generation and help develop new talent. Find out how you can get involved and discover the benefits for your business
The past 15 months have affected every aspect of life as we know it. For businesses across the electrical contracting industry, it has been a challenging time, with restrictions impacting on the work of the sector and its wider workforce.
The history of previous economic downturns tells us that this can have a scarring effect on young people which remains evident throughout their working lives, and if we are to avoid creating a lost generation we must take steps now to help them overcome the barriers they face.
As the economy begins to take early steps to recovery, it is important that employers have the support they need and the people they need to continue to flourish – and that’s where the Young Person’s Guarantee comes in.
I’ve been proud to lead on the development of the Guarantee, which sets out to ensure that today’s generation continue to have access to work and learning. It’s delivered in partnership through the public sector, third sector, education and – critically – Scotland’s employers.
It promises every young person in Scotland aged 16 to 24 either a job, an apprenticeship, study or a volunteering placement. It’s the most ambitious youth employment policy and strategy ever taken forward in Scotland to support every 16 to 24-year-old the length and breadth of the country.
It supports young people from the early years of secondary school through to starting work, and works by bringing together tried and trusted support mechanisms that young people know and that employers understand.
The Guarantee signals a commitment to support young people, but is also pivotal to businesses as we take further steps towards a lasting economic recovery. I have been delighted to see my own organisation, Scottish Financial Enterprise, and some of our members already commit to taking on young people at this time.
It is essential that young people have the same opportunities afforded to previous generations. I’m grateful for the opportunities I received when I was younger and would not be where I am today without the faith of others and the chances I was offered.
Businesses including electrical contracting are absolutely fundamental to offering young people hope and the chance to progress at a time when they need it most.
How you can get involved
Young people bring enthusiasm, energy, creativity and diversity to a business and, most importantly, future-proof a skilled workforce for years to come.
The five employer asks that we have developed allow businesses of all sizes to get involved. They take into account the current situation but also encourage businesses to do more when they can.
There are options for employers of all sizes to get involved in the Guarantee, in up to five ways:
Inspire pupils and college students to gain the skills needed for the world of work
Create opportunities for young people who face the greatest barriers to work
Create jobs and apprenticeships suitable for 16 to 24-year-olds
Create work-based learning, training and upskilling opportunities for young people
Ensure a work environment which supports all young people and provides fair work.
And support is there for you, whether that’s taking on apprentices, taking advantage of the UK Government Kickstart scheme or using Developing the Young Workforce to help prepare young people for the world of work.
By signing up to the Guarantee, employers can use that support to access a future talent pipeline, helping you shape new talent and ensure succession planning. Young people not only address skills gaps, they also offer a competitive advantage through a team with generationally diverse skills, insight and ideas.
The delivery of the Young Person’s Guarantee is in some ways a reaction to the pandemic, but is also about collectively reshaping the employment landscape for young people in Scotland that lasts and is sustainable for the foreseeable future. Since it was launched in November, we’ve already travelled a great distance, with 18,000 new opportunities for young people having been developed. There is, however, a great deal that remains to be done.
The pandemic and business recovery need not be a barrier to investing in youth and I’ve been constantly inspired by the many success stories I’ve heard from Scotland’s employers.
I would encourage you all to now seize the moment and consider how taking on a young person could benefit your business, as well as offering someone a valuable opportunity.
Now is the time for all of us to commit to supporting Scotland’s young people and ensure their future is a bright one and a fair one.