For several years youth unemployment has been higher than that of other age-groups in the working-age population. Investors in Young People aims to address the issue.
THE economy may slowly be picking up and the number of people in jobs might be rising, but unemployment is still disproportionately high among young people. And according to Peter Russian, chief executive of Investors In People both young people looking to work and employers looking to employ may struggle with a young person’s transition from school, college or university or indeed from a period of extended unemployment into a job.
In summer 2014 the organisation set up a new dedicated Investors in Young People programme designed to help employers and young workers manage that transition and achieve conditions that ensured staff were retained to the benefit of employer and employee alike.
But while a number of projects, consultations and accreditations have now been run, and those have included a variety of retail businesses including convenience stores, the overall uptake by retail has been behind that of other industries.
Programmes are individually developed to meet the needs of different organisations of a variety of sizes and the Scottish Government has been providing funding help.
At the beginning of the process Investors in People had found that only 27% of employers were recruiting from education, Peter Russian explained. It figured there were barriers that had to be overcome. It set out to examine those organisations that seemed to be handling recruitment, development and retention of young workers well.
It set out to identify the secrets of success. Then it developed frameworks that would allow large organisations to build processes and systems that could be evaluated and accredited. And it sought to put advisers together with smaller businesses and organisations to help them develop the skills and processes that would improve recruitment and retention of young workers.
“There are two or three headline steps that I would identify,” Russian said.
“The first is some form of engagement with education. For smaller organisations that could be to talk to a school or college to say this is the type of person I might be looking for.
“The second step is about understanding the transition from education or unemployment into work for the first time. We see that as quite dramatically different from a normal induction. There’s a broader issue about how you help young people understand what the general work environment looks like, what’s considered to be appropriate and what’s not, and even giving them support on basic stuff like what you do with your first pay packet.
“In many organisations we’ve seen some buddy or mentoring scheme.
“The third dimension is what happens in work itself and the use of formal qualifications or formal development programmes like apprenticeships so you give the prospective employee a sense that ‘this isn’t just a job, I will develop myself’.”
Implementation of the Investors In Young People programme will vary between organisations (some already have training programmes, for example) but will begin with a visit and consultation, will include the development of a series of preferred outcomes, could take from nine months to a year from scratch and can lead to an accreditation for the organisation.
But, said Peter Russian, the real benefits should be better recruitment and retention and fewer problems for employer and employee. Find out more at