GMCVO joins youth employment response group aiming to avoid a lost generation

GMCVO has joined a cross-sector emergency response group that aims to tackle the problem of unemployment among young people in the wake of COVID-19. 

Over 70 of the country’s leading youth charities, employer groups and experts have united to form the ‘COVID-19 Youth Employment Group’.

GMCVO are the lead partner on Greater Manchester’s Hidden Talent, a voluntary youth employment programme that works with hidden young people across all 10 Greater Manchester local authority areas.

The Youth Employment Group is led by Impetus (a social mobility charity), the Youth Futures Foundation (a not for profit organisation set up to tackle youth unemployment) The Prince’s Trust, Youth Employment UK and the Institute for Employment Studies.

It will design, deliver, and campaign for solutions to the immediate and long-term impact on young people’s employment prospects, particularly those who already face considerable challenges entering the labour market. The group will work to ensure young people receive quality support now, as well as helping plan for a healthy recovery of the youth labour market. 

“GM’s Hidden Talent has valuable insight into the impact of COVID-19 on young people who are in work, looking for work and developing their employability."

According to new research by independent think-tank, Resolution Foundation, the current economic crisis risks pushing an additional 600,000 18-24-year-olds into unemployment in the coming year – and causing long-term damage to their pay and job prospects unless major new support is provided.

The research said employment rates of graduates entering the labour market during this crisis were projected to be 13% lower in three years’ time than they would have been had the crisis never happened. Employment rates for mid- and low-skilled workers risk falling even further (by 27% and 37% respectively).

Gavin Owen, the GM’s Hidden Talent Programme Manager, said: “Organisations across Greater Manchester will need to continue to work together to ensure youth unemployment at these predicted levels don’t hold back an entire generation.  

“GM’s Hidden Talent has valuable insight into the impact of COVID-19 on young people who are in work, looking for work and developing their employability. Our Delivery Partners are reporting how the virus is interrupting support pathways and impeding young people’s progress. 

“They are also telling us how hard they are working to adapt. We will share examples of their ongoing, flexible responsiveness, with the COVID-19 Youth Employment Group. We are also listening to young people’s needs at this testing time and will share their thoughts on what kind of employment support they value and need.”

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that younger workers will be hit the hardest, Their research shows that sectors that shut down as a result of social distancing measures employed nearly a third (30%) of all employees under 25; compared to just one in eight (13%) of workers over 25.

Sam Windett, Director at Impetus and Chair of the Youth Employment Group, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the largest spike in benefits claims in at least 40 years. Now more than ever, employers, charities, councils, colleges and others need to work together with government to prevent a lost generation of jobless young people. I am delighted that over 70 organisations across different sectors are pooling their expertise to ensure this national crisis is followed by a national recovery that works for everyone.“

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