Study finds over a third of employers are engaging with schools

According to a new survey from CIPD, over a third (35%) of employers are now engaging with local schools and colleges.

As youth unemployment continues to show few signs of falling, the CIPD is urging UK businesses to channel their engagement with schools via established programmes, such as the Inspiring the Future initiative. With 70% of state secondary schools in England now signed up to Inspiring the Future, it provides a free and easy method for businesses and schools to connect.

The research, conducted by the CIPD as part of its Learning to Work programme, revealed that many employers have increased the number of access routes into their organisations for young people. Amongst those employers who offer apprenticeship schemes over half (56%) report that they have increased the number over the last twelve months. The number of Traineeships and school-leaver programmes on offer has also been increased in many organisations (50% of those offering Traineeships report an increase and 48% of those offering school leaver programmes report they have increased them).

However, the data, highlighted in the research summary, ‘The opportunity – information gap: the role of employer engagement with schools, also revealed that, despite the increase in the number of access routes, too few employers were receiving applications from young people aged 16-24. Just under a quarter (24%) of employers did not receive a single application from a young person over the last year, and almost a third (31%) of private sector organisation had no applications from young people.

In order to overcome this, and ensure that young people are made aware of the many work opportunities on offer and how to access them,  the CIPD has joined forces with Inspiring the Future, a free national initiative set up by the Education and Employers Taskforce to match volunteers from the world of work with local state schools and colleges. As a result of the partnership more than 1,200 HR professionals have signed up to volunteer in schools over the past six months, making themselves available to deliver career insight talks and CV and interview advice sessions.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “Employer contact has a significant impact on young people, and should form part of wider efforts to help overcome youth unemployment. However, it’s important to recognise that schools can be bombarded with individual requests from businesses. Inspiring the Future provides a mechanism that allows schools to reach out to employers as and when they need them, which is why I am thrilled that so many CIPD members have already registered as volunteers.”

Nick Chambers, Director of the Education and Employers Taskforce, and founder of Inspiring the Future, said: “Research shows that there is a massive information gap between the real demands of employers and what young people know and where their aspirations lie. This is why Inspiring the Future gets volunteers from all jobs, professions and career stages – apprentice to CEO – into state schools and colleges to give real life career insights to pupils. Our partnership with the CIPD helps young people at school meet HR professionals who can help give a rounded picture of employability skills.”