Norfolk employers key to supporting young people through recession

Norfolk employers have thrown their weight behind Backing Young Britain, a national campaign to create new opportunities for thousands of young people during the recession.

Backing Young Britain aims to support 18 to 24-year-olds through the recession with a £6.9 billion investment that will deliver more than 1.5 million learning opportunities for 16-18 year olds, increase apprenticeship places and offers more than £1bn to deliver an additional 200,000 employment opportunities and 100,000 apprenticeships for 19-24 year olds.

Signing up to a Local Employment Partnership (LEP) is just one of the ways that local employers can pledge their support to Backing Young Britain. In Norfolk, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust jointly signed a LEP with training providers Serco.

They then ran a two week pre-employment course for Administrative Staff in partnership with Norfolk Training Services and have since run a second successful course. Since completing the courses, a number of opportunities have been offered ranging from Work Trials, to a guaranteed interview for a job, resulting in 8 jobs being awarded.

Julia Watling, training and development manager for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust, said:

“Our pre-employment programme gives candidates an insight into the NHS and the Trust. The Trust is pleased to be able to support Jobcentre Plus with this initiative which is supporting local people and the local community.”

Work-experience is another key part of Backing Young Britain, the campaign to bring business and government together to create thousands of opportunities for young people.

Paul Lewin, 22, from Great Yarmouth, is a member of Young Gov – a group of young people brought together by Backing Young Britain to share their experiences of work experience and job-search.

Paul said: “I’ve been lucky enough to secure work experience placements in the past, and I’ve learnt invaluable skills in the process. Getting firsthand experience of the world of work is a great help in building your CV. By making a genuine contribution to a business during your placement you gain skills that other employers might value. It really can be the first step on the career ladder. ”

Speaking as 150 top British employers pledged to support Backing Young Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “This Government will do everything we can to help people who are suffering because of the global economic downturn. We know that people of all ages are being hit by the recession, but it is young people who can be most at risk and that's where Backing Young Britain can really make a difference.”

Young people also took part in a panel debate with the Prime Minister and Yvette Cooper, hosted by BBC TV’s Anita Rani. Other members of the panel included Martina Milburn from the Prince’s Trust, Sam Laidlaw from Centrica and Imran Hakim of iTeddy and Jill Youds from Virgin Media.

In July, the Government announced the first 47,000 jobs from the £1bn Future Jobs Fund, which will create 100,000 new jobs targeted at young people.

The Government also announced 45,000 new training and support opportunities to help young people move into sectors that need new talent and have jobs to fill including hospitality, leisure, tourism and retail. In the last three months, over 70,000 vacancies were notified to Jobcentre Plus in retail alone, and the Government is working with industry to make sure young people get the chance to take up more of these jobs.

If young people are job ready, they will be helped into a job, with a financial incentive to employers who take them on. If they are not, they will get the training they need and then be helped to find work.

Yvette Cooper said: “We will not lose a generation of young people to work because of the global recession. We already have over one hundred and fifty of Britain’s top employers signing up to Backing Young Britain to create opportunities for young people. It is crucial for all of us that we make sure we do everything we can to harness the skills and talent of young people now so that we can all benefit in the future. We are acting now so that unemployment does not scar families, communities and the economy for generations.”

The Government also said that over 230,000 unemployed people have been helped into jobs through Local Employment Partnerships; with more than 25,000 employers signed up to work with Jobcentre Plus to help unemployed people back to work.

LEPs help employers to recruit more people, such as the long-term unemployed, for whom the jobs market can be particularly tough, and can involve such measures as guaranteed interviews, special recruitment processes, pre-employment training and work trials.

Young people will also get the help they need sooner: 18-24 year olds will be able to take up a new job from the Future Jobs Fund earlier – after claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for ten months rather than a year, from April 2010.

Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson said:

“Today's package of support for young people is a win-win situation for everyone. The benefits will be felt by the person who gets a foot on the employment ladder, the business gets a new addition to the team, and the country as a whole.

“Work experience, offering internships to graduates and investing in skills and training are vital to equipping young people and businesses with the tools to come out of the downturn in a strong position.”

To find out more about how to join the Backing Young Britain Campaign visit

Tuesday 8th of September 2009 12:00:16 PM