With youth unemployment at very high levels, there has never been a better time to give a young person an opportunity to gain experience. Unemployment in Doncaster for 19- to 24-year-olds is 2,195 which is 25.4 per cent of the total Jobseeker’s Allowance load.
We are far from the days of full employment, so a new generation of young people needs life experiences and employment experiences. The everyday disciplines of work readiness and a career vision are essential elements of who we are.
I suggest many young people just need that first chance. For me it came at the age of 15 when I became a kitchen porter at a hotel close to my home.
Things have changed over the years since, but what counts towards self-esteem and opportunity in later life has not. Many employers recognise the benefits for apprenticeships in their business and use them to grow their workforce. The town is full of good examples of this happening, with more than 900 apprentices supported by Doncaster College, as well as many other local providers also giving opportunities.
Chances to support this are available through traineeships and supported work experience to help young people into the world of work. Employers are helping meet this challenge, but more are required.
The system of support available will help an employer and young person throughout, from initially advertising the role to the appointment of the right individual and their support during the programme.
During the time the individual is on the programme they are continuing to develop English and maths skills for the future along with employability skills. These are the things employers rely on when the person is employed and developing in their company.
Employers want the following skills to be shown at interview and in the role when they arrive:
* Personal interaction: Effective interpersonal skills.
* Job fit: Show a desire for the role, understanding the job and organisation.
* Teamwork: Show how they can work with others to benefit the organisation.
* Productivity: Show commitment and the ability to self-evaluate performance.
* Quality: Show ability to complete tasks accurately to deadlines and contribute to improvement targets.
None of these skills is overly demanding when put into the context of a reason to support gainful employment and get a first step on the ladder.
The next generation is growing up in a tough economic environment where many are competing for the same roles, often against more experienced older workers. They often just need more direction in how to succeed in the workplace.
* George Trow, Principal, Doncaster College