Big changes are underway in our region’s economy and securing the future for local businesses is increasingly about embracing new ways of working, developing new skills and looking for opportunities to diversify into new sectors.
Having a pipeline of skilled young people who are work ready and employers who understand how to get the best out of new young talent is crucial to making that happen.
The first Perth and Kinross Youth Forum, organised by the region’s Developing Our Young Workforce (DYW) initiative, this month gave young people from schools and colleges the chance to advise local employers on what works and what can be improved.
Young people told the forum that they want to see initiatives like DYW made an essential part of learning for all young people – whatever their background or planned career path.
That means more companies promoting their sectors in schools, reviewing how they recruit, communicating with young people about work from an earlier age, and providing more opportunities for work experience.
Currently only one in five employers across Perth and Kinross offer work placements, and those who do find it beneficial to attracting talent, says DYW Perth and Kinross. And the benefits to young people are proven, too. “Research tells us that more than four encounters with a prospective employer means a young person is less likely to be unemployed and more likely to have above average earnings. Yet only 30% of the young people at the event had met more than four employers. That tells us loud and clear that we need more firms signing up,” said Amanda Cramb, Human Resources Manager at Hadden Group and one of the DYW Perth and Kinross employers.
Another of the forum’s participants, Steven Stewart, Chair of the Developing Young Workforce Employer Board and Communications Director of the Stagecoach group, said: “It was really important to us to find out direct from young people how we can improve and build better bridges between education and the workplace, to make things better for young people coming through.”
Steven added: “The young people told employers they valued the work local firms are doing to support work experience.”
The forum came as DYW Perth and Kinross, now in its third year, prepares for its second annual #LearnALiving initiative. Specifically targeting small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), it aims to remove any doubts, barriers or misconceptions surrounding work placements, and help employers discover why the process is good for business.
Among DYW Perth and Kinross’s other supporters are McLeod Glaziers/Meldrum Construction, Charlie Taylor Hair and Beauty, Tabla Restaurant and Volpa marketing agency.
DYW Perthshire said it would take forward many of the young people’s ideas from the forum – everything from clearer job advertisements to more experience of interviewing and networking. Employers who are interested in signing up to DYW Perth and Kinross should contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Fiona Reith on 01738 476431.