Depending on how you look at it, the past year has been very eventful, even if most of us are stuck inside. The pandemic and efforts to deal with it have sucked up the lion’s share of our effort and attention. Big questions have been asked of our society, organisations and ourselves as individuals, whether on identity, public needs, what the future may look like and how we will shape it? The pandemic has highlighted often overlooked needs and nuances in our society. We have been asking how we change the way we do things? More specifically for us, how has this affected children and young people and what are their needs now?
Working together – Transforming futures
Inspire and 15 BillionEBP (Education Business Partnerships) have both considered this as the situation developed throughout the pandemic. Both EBP’s view work-related learning as a crucial part of developmental education and preparing young people for life after education. The issue becomes more urgent as we assess how the pandemic has impacted young people particularly hard. The fallout has, in some cases, taken away their employment or impacted wellbeing, education, prospects and future employability. A London School of Economics study found that people under age 25 predominantly lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Many of them will have already been finding things tough at entry-level or in the gig economy. Even more concerning to see 58% or 6 out of 10 workers of the same age experienced a fall in earnings, compared with 42% of the rest of the working population.
That is why Inspire and 15 BillionEBP want to announce our new partnership and joint efforts towards supporting young people in our communities as they plot their path forward. We have been working together for a few months now, with great success from our joint efforts. We are optimising our work readiness programmes and maximising the number of children and young people we can reach. Both charities have much experience working in neighbouring boroughs (Hackney and Newham). Our teams will bring different skills, attributes and knowledge to the table and have already made a joint effort on things like our virtual work experience programmes.
“I am delighted that our partnership with 15BillionEBP is going from strength to strength, enabling both of our organisations to benefit from the local knowledge and expertise we have gathered about our respective boroughs, over the years. It is critical that collaborative working is at the heart of our sector as we emerge from the pandemic and start to tackle the evolving challenges our young people face in an increasingly competitive world of work.”
Sue Maskrey Inspire EBP Chief Executive
Work-Related Learning: Why is it Important?
Ok, so let us start with the obvious, which is experience. Work Experience may be the first and only opportunity many young people have to acquire crucial knowledge and skills within a professional context to reference in a CV or application. The first thing job applicants are asked, including the young entry-level applicants, is if they have any prior experience? A lack of relevant experience can be held against them by potential employers, hindering many who haven’t yet had the opportunity. Robust, relevant and enjoyable work experience placements massively reduce the chance that this will be the case, giving young people the opportunity to demonstrate and evidence their skills.
It also gives young people confidence when entering the job market and some familiarity with the working environment. They will have gathered some knowledge on applications and interview techniques and hopefully an idea on questions they need to ask in their interest. It gives them a chance to test out particular sectors and make a more informed decision if that is for them. If young people enjoy the experience, it may galvanise their drive and ambition, directly boosting their attainment. Crucially, for many of the young people, we work with, it gives them access to business sectors and industries they may not have had otherwise.
Before students are even at a point where they can complete work experience, we must provide exposure to these concepts and challenge myths, stereotypes and negative perceptions. Earlier intervention is crucial if we don’t want to maintain under-representation or an impression that certain professions are not for them based on gender, race, class or disability. The impact of being told that first-hand by people already doing it cannot be understated or undervalued!
The interactions students from our communities and industry professionals have is also an opportunity to showcase how wonderful our young people are to the world. We want these companies and professionals to see, know and recognise young people’s worth and the incredible talents they have to offer.
“I am very excited that our Partnership is really taking off. Having developed by sharing the development cost of really exciting online work-related learning activities the collaboration between the two charities has now extended to sharing critical support functions. I am confident that our unique collaboration model will preserve the unique local expertise of our respective work while achieving greater efficiency, both of which will be to the direct benefit of the communities we serve.”
Ian Porter – 15 BillionEBP Chief Executive
Support our work
Visit our websites to find out what we do and how you can support us. We have a selection of volunteering opportunities with various age groups, provide work experience placements via our virtual programmes or donate to support our work.
Watch this space: Inspire and 15 BillionEBP are going to do some big things together. We hope you join us in helping young people become work-ready, believe in themselves more and pursue their ambitions confidently.