In the UK, there is growing concern over the long-term impact of youth unemployment from COVID-19. Unemployment increased for those aged 16-24 by 124,000 to 597,000 with experts warning that this could hinder long-term employment prospects and setting them back for future earning potential.
As reported in the Guardian, Professor Ronald McQuaid from the University of Stirling notes that to alleviate some of the youth risks it is “vital to keep people in the labour market through career development and apprenticeship opportunities.” In fact, according to the United Nations Labour Organisation, more than one in six young people, aged 18-29, have stopped working since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. which he UN says The UN says youth unemployment and disconnect of the labour market is a “crisis” that “highlights the all too real risk of a lost generation.” Additionally, BAE Systems surveyed 2,000 young people ages 16-24 and found that of those surveyed, 21% were more confused about their career path than before the outbreak, with 1 in 5 surveyed saying the pandemic has deeply impacted their pursued industry work.
To help tackle this pending crisis, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the British government would invest £2 billion to help young people find jobs, titled Kickstart. This program, announced in mid 2020, is also paired with an additional £1.6 billion to support apprentice and training programs. Yet, the program has critics who site recent data that since the application for the program opened up in September, that only 2,000 jobs have been created equating to roughly 13 jobs a day with close to 300 young people losing jobs daily in the UK Semma Malhorta, Labour’s shadow employment minister, told iNews that “ the Kickstart scheme is failing to offer the opportunities needed to prevent a generation scarred by long-term unemployment.” Yet, a government spokesperson told iNews that the program has actually created more than 120,000 jobs. However, what is undeniably clear is that there is, and has been, increased attention on the state of youth unemployment.
Thankfully, universities across the UK find themselves in a unique position to support the academic success of their students, but also their future success at a time when things continue to remain uncertain. Career centres can help slow down the current youth unemployment crisis by actively engaging with their students online and with employers to help their students find jobs. With the ‘new normal’ of a virtual world, career centres can expand their employer engagement and encourage students to seek opportunities outside of their region for remote employment.
Some small ways you can help you students is by offering training sessions on best practices for virtual internships and engage with employers on ways they can support your students with virtual internships, professional development courses, or job training programs. Additionally, by utilising virtual career fairs, career services staff can continue to connect with students and help them find meaningful employment around the globe.
Symplicity is passionate about expanding access to relevant opportunities and services to diverse student populations while preparing students for meaningful careers. With Symplicity Career Services Manager (CSM) career centres staff can successfully support their students during this critical time with the tools and connections they need to enhance their employability and help them launch their careers. Not only does CSM provide students with the largest employer network from around the globe, CSM is uniquely equipped to provide staff with the ability to track post-graduation outcomes, identify student needs, expand opportunities for students, and offer virtual tools to help connect students to employers. CSM enables institutions to measure and report on critical KPIs around student engagement, streamline student and employer outreach, and run robust OCR and experiential learning programs. CSM empowers students to find opportunities and for universities to continue to support their career readiness programs, even during this challenging time—whether a campus is open, hybrid, or fully online.
For more information about virtualising student services, join us on Wednesday March 10 at 11:00 a.m. GMT for our upcoming webinar “Delivering Meaningful Student Futures with CSM.”