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Jennie Colville

The UK’s huge unemployment crisis is just beginning, and it is becoming clear that young people are going to be hugely impacted.

At the same time the voluntary sector is facing losses of hundreds of millions of pounds1. We are committed to remaining close to our charity partners, Teach First and Young Enterprise to help them adapt to the challenges that lie ahead and play our part in equipping young people with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

Both Teach First and Young Enterprise provide vital support to young people. Teach First recruits and trains talented individuals to become teachers and work where the need is greatest, so they can build a fair education for all. Young Enterprise delivers programmes to equip young people with the enterprising mindset, employability skills, knowledge and confidence they need at work.

Supporting the hardest hit

According to Unesco, school, college and university closures have affected 60% of the world’s student population2. Cancelled exams have led to uncertain futures. Those leaving education are entering the jobs market just as the recession hits and there are fewer jobs available. It is likely that this generation will be living with the consequences of this crisis for many years to come. Our responsibility as a partner to our charities is therefore more relevant than ever before.

As a consulting, digital services and software business we know how transformative technology can be. Online learning solutions have helped students to continue their learning and Young Enterprise has used technology to adapt its programmes to the current challenges.

“Given the current Coronavirus situation and the challenges we are all facing, we want to do all we can to help children and young people (and the incredible teachers who support them) to continue their learning. Without the support of our corporate partners, we would not have been able to adapt our programmes to online so swiftly. Thank you, Capita, for your continued support.” Sharon Davies, CEO Young Enterprise.

By helping to minimise disruption to learning we can ensure that students continue to build the skills and knowledge they need for work. Our support of our charity partners has also including mobilising our 61,000 colleagues to share their skills and experience with young people. Our colleagues have given guest lectures, helped young people with mock interviews and looked through their CVs as part of our partnership with Teach First. By sharing their own experiences from their varied careers, our colleagues can help young people to explore which direction they want to take their lives. This has continued during the pandemic as we have helped Teach First to deliver virtual careers talks for young people to support their studies at home.

“While the effects of Covid-19 will affect all young people, it’s those from disadvantaged communities who will suffer the most. Without adequate access to the internet and online devices, the barriers to studying at home are much greater for these children. It’s up to all of us, including businesses, to do whatever we can to stand behind these children now and make sure the gap between the rich and poor doesn’t widen further still, protecting their futures – and our society’s.” Rob Halkyard, Executive Director of Engagement at Teach First.

The Government has acknowledged the impact of the pandemic on young people with it kick-start jobs plan. Creating opportunities for young people to gain experience and learn while working is a major part of the Chancellor’s plan. We understand the value of experience, which is why we started a successful work experience pilot earlier this year to bring young people into Capita and help them experience the diversity of what we offer. The pandemic may have paused our programme for now, but we intend to re-start it as soon as we are able to. We are also committed to increasing the number of apprenticeship opportunities we offer from 900 to 1,400.

Teaching the value of money

As well as providing learning and work opportunities for young people, we want to ensure our charitable partnerships are supporting young people throughout their lives.

A vital skill for young people who are growing up, and earning their own money, is learning how to look after it. That is why we are supporting Young Enterprise’s Young Money Challenge. This year it has challenged young people, aged 4-19, to think about responsible consumerism and how their spending choices can impact the planet. By encouraging young people to think about money in a different way we can help them make more informed choices as they grow older. As the key partner of the Young Money Challenge, our people and clients are part of the judging process and the winners will be announced soon.

Doing the right thing

The pandemic has affected individuals and businesses and there are still many complex challenges to overcome, but we are committed to being a responsible business and using our platform to do the right thing. The combination of our charitable partnerships and our own programmes is helping to young people to overcome barriers.

As we acclimatise to a new way of life, we know how important it is for businesses to play a positive role in society and behave as good corporate citizens. We are committed to playing our part in creating better outcome for all.

For more information about our approach to responsible business, please visit our responsible business page.

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