Equipping young people to thrive in the Workplace;

Equipping Young People to Thrive in the Workplace.

Research by professional bodies reveal that millennials, especially young school leavers are hardly work ready after leaving school. Evidence shows they need more support to advance and to thrive in the place of work.

It is now apparent that professional development workshops and activities need to be encouraged in educational institutions. This will ensure young people begin early to receive work skills training that adequately prepares them to advance and thrive in the workplace professionally and mentally.

A graduate study at The University of Law UK, (The challenges young people face advancing into the workplace and how to alleviate some of these challenges), revealed that although most young people may have the educational training and technological know-how to make a positive impact at work, they are far less prepared to thrive mentally and professionally at the place of work.

A recent study by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) – 2023, (Making young people a vital part of the work place), revealed that the needs of young people within the ages of 13-24, ‘were going unmet and increasing intergenerational inequalities were emerging. For this reason the transition to adulthood was already creating problems for many young people’. 

key findings from the research are as follows: 21% of employers did not hire from ages 21-25. Two in five did not hire from 18 – 21 age group. 68% did not hire from 16 – 17 age group.
 25% of employers have limited experience hiring disadvantaged young people. The study also revealed that employers feel young people are hindered by; Lack of work skills 42%, lack of experience 36% and lack of confidence 34%.

The studies also highlighted the fact that young people are among those most negatively affected by the recent pandemic, this stemmed from poor educational experiences which deepened their challenges to find and secure work. The result is that many are discouraged, uncertain about future prospects and anxious about their wellbeing.

It is now, more important than ever, to focus on supporting their transition and progression to the world of work. Support them to secure good quality work that will have a lasting positive impact on their future outcomes. 

Failing to do this, may risk our future generation being scared with lifetime economic and social burdens which will cost us all dearly in the future.

There is therefore, an urgent need to ensure that our young people have the opportunity for sustainable healthy working lives. This objectives must be met by policymakers, employers, educational institutions and the wider community. Also, these new policies must address the challenges employers face as they struggle to access the labour they need to function most effectively.

Useful recommendations to alleviate these challenges;

Studies reveal that these challenges need to be addressed effectively as millennials and Gen Z cohorts seem poised to shift the trajectory in the workplace. This will be positive if they receive the right support and training development. Some recommendations include;

  1. Develop effective training pathways from education to workplace: Educational providers should place more emphasis on work/business skills preparation for students, including student support through mentoring and employability activities to prepare young people for the important transition into the work-place. Links with employers should be strengthened, particularly for small and local businesses. This process requires a combined effort of government institutions, educational bodies, local providers and employers. 
  2. Strengthen support to intermediary organisations that work with young people and educational providers: Government should improve resources for supporting intermediary organisations, such as local Job centres and third-sector organisations. They play a vital role in supporting young people and assisting local employers to improve their hiring processes. This should include promoting equality, diversity and inclusion processes. ‘These organisations can equally support employers to progressively develop the understanding, resources and opportunities to support disadvantaged young people into sustainable employment’.
  3. Encourage longer periods of internship programmes when they are still at school and improve standards of pay for young people: Youth internship programmes should be extended for young people, both while in school and after leaving school, for more impactful work experience. Also, in order to attract, incentivize good work and retain young people, employers need to increase their standards of pay for young people and develop progression strategies to encourage retention. These incentives could include developing practices that support disadvantaged young people into employment.
  4. Improving mental health literacy and invest in organisational health and wellbeing support: A joint effort is required to develop the necessary guidelines for supporting employees’ mental health in the workplace. This is vital at a time a large percentage of young people are struggling with mental health challenges.  Also, employers should be aware of their legal responsibilities (through the Health and Safety at Work Act) around mental health. This should clearly reflect in the workplace policies and practices. This can be monitored using designated regulatory bodies representing government, wellbeing organisations, employers, and employee representative bodies.
  5. Establishing local support through ‘Employer Hubs’: Government should establish local ‘Employer Hubs’, similar to Youth Hubs. This also, could be integrated within existing Youth Hubs – The Hubs will be set up to provide a one-stop-shop for local employers to access information, guidance and support around youth employment in a single one stop shop. The hubs should include employer engagement support teams, such as representatives from local Job-centres, youth employability services providers, and youth employment facilitators.
  6. Parents and guardians should be encouraged to get more involved in preparing their youngsters for the work place – Supporting organisations should offer the parents some useful resources on how they can help prepare their children from early school age; i.e from year 10.
  7. Encourage young people to be more confident by choosing a discipline they naturally gravitate towards and can thrive in. It is imperative during these times of uncertainty to empower young people with the confidence and skills they require to start their own small business where necessary, and not always rely on being employed by others.

This blog is updated by Georgi David in association with other certified people development mentors; (Categories cover; Employability skills, Emotional intelligence, Leadership skills and Human resources development). The aim is to empower our readers to manage their work performance and deal with confidence issues that form barriers to achieving personal and professional goals.

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