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What employers in Leeds are telling us about young people

Blog

2 MIN READ

 
Date Posted: 15th May 2017

I’ve just hosted a roundtable comprised of local employers here at EY’s Leeds office discussing a topic which, judging by their response, is of increasing concern; the future workforce and how to attract, engage and prepare potential future employees.

With Brexit on the horizon, the need for an effective roadmap for securing future talent is more urgent than ever. Employers nationally are already reporting that there will be a massive shortage of skilled workers unless something changes. But how does that manifest itself regionally?

Our roundtable included employers from a range of different sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing and housing.

What came across loud and clear is that, while businesses are only too aware that they need new young staff with ‘work ready’ skills, there are too few opportunities for young people to get work experience that will engage and prepare them. And these opportunities are even rarer when it comes to the kind of high quality work placements where young people are given a real chance to develop new skills and work as part of a team.

If business is serious about solving its staffing issues, then it’s time to do something about that. Another observation from the discussion was that employers clearly felt that careers advice in schools today was doing them a disservice. In their view it tends to focus on further education and university with little talk of the option to enter the workplace directly. Yet for some young people this would be a far more appealing option. Again, it’s time to change that and recognise the value of the workplace as a tool to grow and learn.

This whole issue is only going to get more heated in the coming months as concerns about future staffing shortages become more apparent. But one thing is overwhelmingly clear – employers and the education system will need to work together far more effectively if the UK is to have future generations of work ready young people. Here at EY we’re really excited to be doing something about that in Leeds and beyond and – with the EY Foundation – for disadvantaged young people in particular.

Suzanne Robinson, Partner