Creating Opportunities for Young People in Calderdale

For those of who you have had a look around the website you will (perhaps) have noticed us make reference to one of our aims being to create as many opportunities as we can for young people in the surrounding area. In part this stems from the co-founders experience of how difficult it can be finding the right job and getting a first opportunity on leaving education.

1. An ongoing issue

There have been numerous studies on the importance of creating opportunities for young people which have shown the importance of it for both the mental health of those concerned but also the economic wellbeing of the regions in which the young people are from. The impact of being out of work for large periods can have a major impact on the confidence and future earnings potential of young people, effectively throwing many of them on the scrap heap before they’ve even got started. This is something that has certainly been exacerbated by the recent Covid-19 impact which saw many young people lose their jobs. Many others are forced into precarious employment on zero hours or self-employed type contracts that prevent them getting a foot on the ladder. There is an important need to help reduce this trend wherever possible and we have committed to do whatever we can when the opportunity presents itself.

2. Government support can be crucial in helping reduce risk

Young people are often seen by many employers as an increased risk in comparison to someone with a proven CV and work history. The potential for poor attitude, lack of discipline and the amount of investment required to get them to the level required by the company can seem like too much of a risk. Whilst we can completely understand this idea, there is also a counter argument that young people, when given genuine opportunities to shine and responsibility over their work, can surprise you with their ability and their willingness to learn. Many companies have concerns that they invest significant time and money in training staff, only for them to start applying for the quickest possible pay rise elsewhere.

There is undoubtedly a strong role that government can play in helping micro companies and SMEs to reduce the risk of taking on young people. Schemes such as the apprenticeship scheme and the recent Kickstart scheme have certainly played a huge role in enabling the company to take on more staff and invest more time and money into training and professional development for them. The combination of working with on the job training is an important route for many young people and can have significant advantage over more academic options in many job roles.

Staff learn first hand the importance of deadlines, accountability and responsibility for one’s own work that is often missing in more academic settings. Equally, with the right culture and support they are able to pursue ideas and see the impact that their work has had on the company’s performance. We work hard to empower and include younger staff in relevant decision making and allow them a degree of autonomy over the direction they take their work in. The primary aim is to provide clear pathways for young people within the company as it grows and develops, enabling them to take on more responsibility if they wish.

3. Increased investment leads to increased loyalty

Like many companies we have had experience with the type of employee that is simply in the role for as long as it takes them to get a better offer elsewhere. The insecurity that this can breed throughout the company can have a negative impact on the culture of the company, demotivating colleagues and causing disagreements throughout the company as to how to manage this. However, our experience has shown that, with the right support and opportunities, younger people are increasingly loyal to the company and wish to repay the investment the company has made in them significantly. The major benefit of this works for everyone concerned. As a company we can develop a workforce that is motivated, loyal and understands the exact requirements of their role. From an employee perspective they have the benefit of knowing they are working for a company that has made a significant investment in them.

4. Doing what we can to reduce uncertainty

It has been a hard few months for everyone and confidence or certainty in what is going to happen in the next few months has never been lower. With the combination of Covid-19, Brexit and other external factors compounding to create a wide uncertainty in the wider economy, this has become quite a stressful time for everyone. However, we continue to believe that by investing in younger people wherever possible and by creating clear pathways for their careers to develop we can move forward strongly.