From education to employment

Pandemic regressing career prospects for vulnerable youngsters

People around desk, shaking hands

The pandemic has regressed the career prospects of youngsters with the highest employment barriers, whitepaper finds

A new whitepaper by JA Europe, Europe’s largest provider of education programmes, has found that educators and corporates are failing to level out opportunities for young people with the highest barriers to employment

Traditional educators and corporates are failing to level out opportunities for youngsters with the highest barriers to employment, a new European-wide whitepaper has found.

According to the report, young people with disabilities or limited opportunities will not have access to the jobs and skills to enable them to succeed in the labour market.

Produced by JA Europe, Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for work readiness and financial literacy, in collaboration with financial services company NN Group, the whitepaper has shone a spotlight on the shortcomings in levelling out opportunities for those with limited opportunities and the highest barriers to employment.

The report, which incorporated a survey of corporate members and teachers through the non-profit’s 40 member countries, found that 67 per cent of students with limited opportunities are at risk of falling behind in mainstream education. Over half of these students have also expressed increased concern for their future and their readiness for the world of work, despite 69 per cent of companies across Europe reporting talent shortages.

With 76 per cent of these students also suffering from issues relating to social development and communication, the report highlights the problems arising from the removal of entry level roles that have traditionally acted as a steppingstone into the job market.

As to the reasons why these young people are falling behind, JA reports a lack of government investment into practical training and the absence of tailored programmes that address the unique needs of this group. 

In response to the findings, JA Europe with support from  NN group have devised a new European-wide initiative to support youngsters with employment barriers and prepare them for the world of work.

Salvatore Nigro, the CEO of JA Europe, said:

“Talent is universal, but opportunity is not. Our report shows that Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on young people who were already facing difficulties in education and employment pre-pandemic. In December 2020, 3.1 million young people under 25 were unemployed in the EU, and the large majority came from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

“On a macro level and amid a rapid rise in digitalisation and technology usage, almost all jobs require at least basic digital skills. For those from a lower socio-economic background, there are significant limitations in terms of digital participation and technological skills, mainly down to not having the financial resources to buy computers or pay costly internet subscriptions. Despite these issues, very few employers make discretions during the hiring process, which is exacerbating existing inequalities in the labour market.”

Becca Dean, JA Alumni and founder of the Girl’s Network added:

“Many youngsters will be taking care of sick parents, managing hidden disabilities or facing discrimination. Yet no young person should be limited by their ethnicity, background or parental income. That is why it is so important to address high drop-out rates and unemployment across Europe. As someone who faced severe employment barriers during their youth, I know how hard it can be to cut through the noise.”

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