The Sun on Sunday gives hope to youngsters by teaming up with THREE back-to-work schemes

WE face a youth unemployment crisis, with grim predictions that A MILLION could be out of work by the end of the year.

But help is at hand. The Sun on Sunday has teamed up with THREE back-to-work schemes to offer a lifeline to 570,000 worried 16 to 24-year-olds currently out of a job.

A further 800,000 younger workers remain furloughed and face an uncertain future.

Our expert advice, guidance and application tips aim to give a boost to young people whose work prospects were hit in the pandemic.

We are determined to give what has been dubbed “Generation Dole” a leg up the work ladder.

Dougie Stevenson, of youth employment group Street League, says: “This is the biggest youth unemployment crisis we’ve ever faced.

“We need drives like The Sun on Sunday’s. We have to do something.”

Stephen Evans, of the Learning & Work Institute, adds: “Young people have been hit by a double whammy of disrupted education and reduced job opportunities. We urgently need this action.”

We are teaming up with: The Government’s Kickstart Scheme, which is already helping secure tens of thousands of jobs for young people; Catch22, which provides direct support to young people looking for work; and the Prince’s Trust, which helps thousands into work each year.

Government’s valuable scheme

WE are urging employers everywhere to sign up for the Government’s valuable Kickstart Scheme.

The programme aims to fund roles for 16 to 24-year-olds who are on Universal Credit.

Youngsters keen to explore Kickstart roles should speak about it to their Work Coach.

If you are an employer looking to get involved, visit kickstart.campaign.gov.uk for details.

Businesses of all sizes can apply for funding.

They are urging our readers and their families to get in touch if they need support.

Today we offer guidance on how to contact our work partners and give you top advice from a work coach who can get you workplace-ready as we emerge from lockdown.

So get in touch with one of the groups, quote “The Sun on Sunday jobs drive” and you will be guided on how to give yourself the best chance to get back into work.

Work & Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey says: “All credit to The Sun on Sunday for joining our national jobs effort."

We are boosting job prospects of young Brits across the country as we build back better.

Vital support

CATCH22 provides vital support for people seeking work.

Whether you face personal barriers or are struggling to find the right role, its personal case workers can help you with CVs, skill development and job hunting.

If you would like support or are an employer interested in working with Catch22, visit catch-22.org.uk or email [email protected]

Government figures released last week reveal the scale of the crisis. In December, 570,000 people aged 16 to 24 were unemployed — the highest level since 2016.

And the burden on the state is growing. People aged 18 to 24 claiming unemployment-related benefits rose by 263,700 between February 2020 and March 2021 — more than doubling. There are 830,500 people aged 16 to 24 still on furlough.

And from June an estimated 300,000 graduates will join the hunt for work.

But there are green shoots. Data from recruitment agency Morgan McKinley showed finance vacancies in London surged by 70 per cent in April as business confidence returned.

Encouraging figures last month showed the number of new jobs being created by tech firms is back to 2019 levels. Many of these firms will be looking for young workers and graduates.

And the Office for National Statistics says job postings are now back at the level they were in February 2020.

Practical and financial support

THE Prince’s Trust helps 11 to 30-year-olds build confidence and skills for work, education and training. Its courses are run in person and online to give practical and financial support.

Find out more at princes-trust.org.uk or call 0800 842 842 (9am-6pm, Monday-Friday) to talk to a member of the team.

While the hospitality and catering sector saw the biggest increase in vacancies, 16 of 28 industries measured posted a rise.

Jo Ferreday, managing director of hospitality and events company Sheer Edge, says: “The economy is starting to open up and many hospitality businesses are beginning to hire staff so they can hit the ground running.”

Prince’s Trust chief executive Jonathan Townsend says: “We know young people have been disproportionately affected and there is a long road ahead.”

We need our young people to play an active role in the recovery of our economy.

Catch22’s Victoria Head adds: “Young people are being hit hardest as the industries they tend to work in suffer most, such as hospitality and events. Prior to the pandemic young people were already undervalued and often more likely to be on volatile, zero-hours contracts.”

So if you are one of the young unemployed — or you know someone who is — follow our guides here on how you can get in touch with those three employment schemes.

Together, we will get Britain’s youth back working again.

‘SUN SUPPORT IS FANTASTIC’

AFTER graduating, Grant Robertson knew he was entering the jobs market at a tough time. The 23-year-old, who lives outside Glasgow, hoped to use his degree to secure a job in TV production or acting. But instead he had to apply for Universal Credit and was hit by crippling anxiety.

Grant says: “I thought I’d come out of university and go into work. But the pandemic hit and this wall came down. There were no jobs at all. My mental health declined and it was hard to stay motivated. I put on weight and it knocked my confidence.”

Grant has decided to return to full-time education and will study for a Masters at Stirling University.

He says: “It’s not the path I wanted to go down but I hope it will be a stepping stone towards work and a brighter future.

“It’s fantastic The Sun on Sunday is providing this support. So many young people need help.”

Tiah-Paige Burrell has spent the past year applying for job after job.

She says: “A lot of people have been selected above me for jobs because of my lack of experience.

“On other occasions I’ve been told I am over-qualified. That’s one of the big problems. Young people are finding they fall in between the two and not able to get a job.”

Tiah-Paige, 20, from Great ­Yarmouth, Norfolk, has only worked for a month, after she secured shifts at her local community ­theatre.

She says: “I get anxiety caused by not being financially stable. It brings on a lot of stress.

“There needs to be more support for young people.

“It would be good if employers who turn you down could offer on-the-job training.

“Employers who give young people a chance will find them enthusiastic and determined.”

Covid also grounded Forester Hirst’s fledgling career.

The 24-year-old, from Guiseley, near Leeds, lost his job as a hotel entertainer in the Canary Islands and returned to the UK.

After failing to find work he applied for Universal Credit.

One positive was the support of the Prince’s Trust.

He says: “It’s been a very difficult year. I lost out on 12 months of doing a job I enjoyed. Covid has stopped life for everyone.

“The turning point came when I contacted the Prince’s Trust. It helped me secure work in a supermarket and provided courses to hopefully help me find work.”

Forester hopes the relaxation of travel rules will let him return to his job as an entertainer. And he is backing The Sun on Sunday’s campaign.

He says: “Anything that can be done to provide more support for young people looking for work is great. The Prince’s Trust helped me so much.

“I’d encourage anyone in the same position to get in touch with them. They can help you find a way through what is a really difficult time.”

HOW TO GET IN THE GAME

WORK Coach team leader Adam Sharp, of Oldham Jobcentre, says:

  • Research the company you are applying to and tailor your CV to every role.
  •  Set up alerts on jobs websites so you are notified straight away about the latest opportunities.
  •  Don’t underestimate social media. Make use of LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook in your hunt for work.
  • Think about how you can transfer your skills to new sectors.
  • Dress the part for interviewers. A smart appearance makes a great impression.
  • Clean up your presence on social media – or at the very least, set it to private.
  • Practise interviews with family and friends, or your Work Coach.
  • If you have recently had an interview but were not successful, ask them for feedback. Use the gov.uk “Job Help” website to get advice on which sectors are growing and help finding vacancies.
  • Personality is key. Show employers what makes you the person you are.

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