The Covid-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on young people in Hounslow, who were already facing challenges in the job market.
Published: Wednesday, 27th October 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on young people in Hounslow, who were already facing challenges in the job market; the number of young people aged 24 or under, and economically inactive has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic. The Resolution Foundation has stated that a “Covid generation” could be lost to long periods out of work.
Tackling the issue, Hounslow’s Youth Employment and Skills Roundtable met on 20 October, bringing together a UK wide range of organisations and experts including, Scottish Financial Enterprise, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Institute of Employment Studies, Youth Employment UK, West London Business, Segro, local colleges, the VCSE sector and key Council elected members. The virtual meeting saw discussion centred around new thinking, and best practice to drive recovery and support those who have been most impacted in the community.
Attendees heard about Scotland’s Young Person’s Guarantee, which promises every young person (aged 16 to 24) either a job, an apprenticeship, study or a volunteering placement, and Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s ‘guarantee’ to listen and act on the priorities expressed by young people (aged 11 to 30).
A lively and engaging meeting, drawing on collective experiences, saw discussions centred around practical action to be taken to effectively engage young people and employers, and develop a local youth guarantee.
Developing a local youth guarantee will be taken forward through the Council’s Youth Skills and Employment Programme. Working with young people, education, business and other partners, the programme will develop a comprehensive, inclusive, accessible Youth Offer for skills and employment, to ensure that young people across the borough have every opportunity to access education, employment and skills whatever their individual background or needs; enabling them to thrive and reach their full potential.
Chair of the Roundtable, and Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Youth Services, Councillor Tom Bruce, said:
We’re absolutely determined to help young people’s prospects; every one of them has potential that needs to be tapped into. Young people already faced so many challenges before the pandemic, with the impacts of lockdowns and furlough it’s vital that we find practical ways to improve their employment prospects.
“I’m proud to have convened this roundtable and know it’s going to make a real difference in reducing inequality in the borough.”
Neil Impiazzi, Partnership Development Director at SEGRO, said:
‘The work in Scotland and Manchester confirms that businesses can add real value in helping young people onto a successful career path. We already support a number of diverse young people facing barriers to employment and will seek to increase these opportunities by engaging our customers and suppliers. We believe that by working in partnership with the private and public sectors we can inspire young people to make the right career choices and greatly improve their chances of sustainable employment.
Tracey Aust, Principal, West Thames College, said:
“The presentations were really informative and resonated with my experience, and my role in education and will help to develop our work in Hounslow. It was really refreshing to hear about the approach to the role of young people, getting their voice heard and engaging them in a holistic way.”