Investing in our future
The current economic difficulties have left many young people struggling to find employment. A significant percentage find it difficult to gain that vital first foothold in their chosen field, with lack of experience cited as a major barrier.
Our young people are our future. For those from less advantaged backgrounds, finding a way into work may actively improve quality of life. And from an industry point of view, maintaining the recruitment pipeline by attracting new joiners is also vital to avoid skills shortages down the line.
Time to stand up and be counted
While the government has pledged more support for apprenticeships and vocational training, industry must also accept responsibility for encouraging the next generation. Work placements and internships offer a valuable practical experience. However, there exists a lively controversy over whether such placements should be paid or unpaid…
To pay or not to pay?
It has always been the case that those starting out in a trade are paid less, but with transport and accommodation costs soaring, it is only fair to provide a level of financial assistance to cover day to day expenses. Failure to do so may actually put off some students from applying – who may be the very future stars we should be encouraging.
The CIPD has proposed setting a minimum training wage of £2.50 an hour for all apprenticeships and internships. Whilst every situation is individual, it is important the Government works with industry to establish clear and fair guidelines and to incentivise industry to do more.
It’s important also that companies who take on young people in this way should ensure adequate mentoring is in place, so that both sides derive value from the experience.
Reaping the benefits
Your investment of time and money is likely to be paid many times over and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are ensuring the right people with the right skills for your organization will be available when you need them. Those companies who are seen to be proactive will also enhance their reputation as an employer, with more and more young people placing an increasing emphasis on working for companies with strong social values.
Helping the young is not only a duty and a privilege but can be intensely rewarding too. Working together, we can achieve so much more.
At CBS, we’ve been joined by a second year Interior Design undergraduate Charlotte Kent, in a highly successful summer work placement – see our News page on the website for more details.
Do share your own experiences – good and bad! – with work placement schemes.