Reaching NEETs and Raising Aspirations

Reaching NEETs and Raising Aspirations

Over 2 million young people live in poverty in Britain today, according to Impetus (1). Their researchers have found that the gap in youth employment between young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and their better-off peers is stark – disadvantaged young people are twice as likely to not be in education, employment or training (NEET) (Sep 2019).

At EmployabilityUK it is our aim to find and help the ‘hard to find’ – those who are classed as NEET; but the charity also wants to help young people to find their potential, and to encourage resilience throughout their lives.

Once a young person is NEET it is difficult to change. 75% of NEET young people are NEET for the long-term, and of those described as NEET, a disproportionate amount are from disadvantaged backgrounds. These young people are likely to have low qualifications. Even when young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have the equivalent qualifications to their better-off peers, they are still 50% more likely to be out of education and employment in early adulthood.

In September 2020 over half a million young people aged 18-24 claimed unemployment related benefits. This is an increase of 125% between March and September 2020 (2). The government responded to the Covid-19 job situation, opening the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to applications in April 2020. By the end of July 2020, around 970,000 employees aged 16-24 had been furloughed through the scheme. This was 47% of eligible jobs, demonstrating the impact that Covid-19 has had on youth employment.

Since 2013, the UK youth unemployment rate has been on a downward trend – but this position is changing. The number of unemployed young people aged 16-24 increased by 87,000 in the last year.

According to RF (3) researchers, unemployment among economically active 18- to 29-year-olds could hit 17% by late 2020. This is the same level as in 1984, when Britain was undergoing economic disruption.

This is the perfect storm of those whose opportunities were limited in the first place, and a changing economic position for those who have enjoyed good levels of employment.

At EmployabilityUK we are passionate about raising aspirations and finding the seed of potential in young people. We want to give young people the confidence, skills, and support networks to secure a job and succeed in the workplace – regardless of their background. We believe that every child and young person should be supported on their journey, whatever their social mobility or individual circumstances, especially those who lack support networks or positive role models.

A young person who participated in our recent workshops, run by a team of our volunteers, gave feedback in the form of advice to others, sharing the below.

Those that struggle to believe in themselves and strive to do better but don’t know how, would greatly benefit from this programme, with the only focus to make you a better and more confident you. – Virtual workshop learner

Another young person that attended our online workshop also shared their experience.

It was super interactive and engaging which made you feel a part of a community. I feel like my employability skills are enhanced and developed for the better. I now feel more confident in going into an interview knowing I can overcome fears and succeed.  It was a blessing and great to be part of such a lovely organisation. Virtual workshop learner

 However, providing workshops isn’t our only focus as we understand that for young people, these uncertain times are challenging. With this in mind, we adapted the way we operate and had a handful of young volunteers join our team. With employability at the core of our charity, we love the idea of these roles proving mutually beneficial – with our young people gaining invaluable experience, whilst EmployabilityUK gain fresh and creative ideas.

Having the ability to have a positive impact on their career prospects is priceless to us, and feedback such as that below just tops it off.

During my time volunteering for EUK, I have had the opportunity to contribute to a number of projects and see the real-life effects of my work. As a volunteer, you are treated as a valued member of the team and, both independently and as a team, given the opportunity to work on projects that interest you.– Katherine Hall

Seeing how my work has contributed to the charity is something I have valued a lot. It is one thing gaining work experience, but it is another to know that every piece of work you produce is genuinely going to be used. I have found this incredibly valuable. It shows that every volunteer has a purpose and makes you feel like you have always been a part of the team. – Lydia Ruston

As a 2020 graduate, leaving university in such an uncertain time had left me stuck in a bit of a rut. I spent every day applying for job after job, and hearing nothing back – it was disheartening, and I often found myself losing hope. I was so pleased when given the opportunity to join the EmployabilityUK team as a volunteer. My self-confidence has grown, I’ve been given fantastic learning opportunities, and I truly believe I have developed professionally. – Erin Jones

We are so pleased to know that our young volunteers value their time with us, just as much as we value them. If you are a young person and would like to enhance your career prospects, whatever your background, get in touch about volunteering and mentoring opportunities. We promise you won’t regret it!