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Pathways to Work? A recap of our roundtable discussion on school to work transitions

Brhmie Balaram

09 February 2012

Tuesday’s (07 February) roundtable discussion on school to work transitions, held at The Work Foundation, marked the start of our new research consortium for ‘The Missing Million’, a two year solution focused project aimed at increasing the employment prospects for young people.
The event was chaired by the Big Innovation Centre’s Will Hutton and the panel included Antony Jenkins, the CEO of Barclays Retail and Business Banking. Also attending the event were partners of The Work Foundation, policy-makers and business leaders. Together the consortium discussed the number of issues affecting the mounting number of young people experiencing unemployment and presented potential solutions.
Barclays for example, jointly announced with HSBC and Santander that they will be bolstering their apprenticeship schemes.  Barclays alone will be introducing 1,000 new training positions beginning in April this year.
Several key points were also raised during the discussion including:
  • Young people who are unemployed are not a homogenous cluster, so there is a need to distinguish and prioritise a core group of the long-term unemployed ;
  • The changing industrial sector has led to more customer facing jobs that require a different set of ‘soft skills’ that people must have from day one of a job;
  • Many young people, and up to 45% of NEETs, have no work experience whatsoever, which seriously disadvantages them in today’s competitive labour market;
  • Pathways out of education into work ought to be improved for those who perform less well at school by raising awareness of alternative options, such as apprenticeships, and how to access them;
  • Businesses have an important role to play in helping ease the transition between school and work, working with schools, colleges and young people to help set out clear career pathways and routes into the labour market. 

With such great outcomes from our first roundtable discussion future events should prove to be just as fruitful. 

For more information about ‘The Missing Million’ project click here