This World Youth Skills Day pays tribute to the resilience and creativity of youth throughout the COVID-19 crisis - which has resulted in disruption to education, training, socialising and had a huge impact on the lives of young people - their mental health, wellbeing, motivation and future hopes and plans.
A recent young person’s survey by Young Minds reported that
Thankfully young people have shown incredible resilience, either developing strong coping mechanisms themselves, or they have been supported by schools, charities, or social enterprises who have been able to adapt their specialist services and support for them.
Through our Enterprise Growth Funds, Resonance is proud to work with social enterprises supporting young people in many ways. In fact, through our Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Funds – which aim to dismantle poverty in the South West and West Midlands - one of the core social impact themes that has emerged across these funds’ investment portfolios, and which social enterprises are specifically tackling and providing support for, is Opportunities for Young People.
Impact of the pandemic
In the months following the start of the pandemic there was a large fall in employment levels for young people aged 16-24 across England, which was followed by a rise in unemployment .
In February-April 2021, compared to the pre-pandemic quarter of January-March 2020:
Additionally, 728,000 people aged 16-24 were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in January-March 2021, 10.6% of all people in this age group .
The Prince’s Trust report ‘Facing the Future: employment prospects for young people after coronavirus’  found that young people now account for around two thirds of the total fall in employment since the start of the pandemic:
“Not only do young people face a greater risk of unemployment during the pandemic; the longer-term structural changes in the labour market are likely to reduce their future employment opportunities.”
So, with many jobs in care, leisure, retail, and hospitality lost during the pandemic, and a general lack of available work or training opportunities, young people have been particularly hard hit.
The South West
Across the local authorities in the South West, between 5 – 7% of young people are NEET, however the figure rises steeply in Bristol, where 15% of young people are not in education, employment or training .
Resonance works with a number of social enterprises in the region supporting young people, providing them with training, volunteering and work-based opportunities including:
Community Mentoring & Support who work with children and young people who have previously been excluded from education and, in many cases, their communities, and who often represent specific disadvantaged groups in society. By creating curriculum-based learning and packages of social and emotional support and development it enables and empowers young people to succeed, and increases opportunities for them to successfully access training, education and employment:
“Throughout the pandemic, the school teams worked creatively to ensure that support was maintained for all children on roll with our school, adapting our model as the crisis continued.
“We created personalised ‘learning from home’ survival packs for students so they had purpose and continuity. A typical kit included a plant growing challenge, journals, cookery challenges (with lessons delivered on doorsteps!) and more.
“In developing a flexible and bespoke virtual learning experience and continuity of support, we were able to maintain a balanced educational offer to all, alongside the wellbeing support of our young people.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our Year 11 students in Devon have been entered into 13 different GCSEs, as well as additional qualifications in first aid and food hygiene courses. They are also all leaving us to confirmed post-16 placements. We are so proud of the resilience and optimism that the children we support have shown through this challenging time.”
The West Midlands
In 2020 almost 7,000 16- to 17-year-olds in the West Midlands Local Authority were NEET, with an “Employment Gap” of around 13 percentage points, with 26% of disadvantaged young people NEET, compared to 13% of their better-off peers6.
Young people in the region are supported and providing with education, training and employment opportunities by some the social enterprises Resonance works with including:
Jericho Foundation - which provides support for people facing barriers to employment to get (back) into employment, through its paid work experience, personal development plans, vocational training and ongoing mentoring:
“With many of our businesses affected by successive Government lockdowns and restrictions we had to come up with new ways to ensure that the young people on our apprenticeships, volunteering and training programmes continued to feel connected, valued and supported as part of the JERICHO family when our doors were physically shut. This approach has been vital when young people have returned to their workplace too.
“We have made use of old and new technology to keep connected and provide a lifeline to those young people who have struggled with immense challenges of the pandemic. We have undertaken doorstep and home visits to provide pastoral support when young people have been furloughed and have liaised with specialist services and made referrals where young people have needed help beyond our expertise. We have also extended placements to ensure young people do not miss out on valuable time in their workplace because of enforced closures during lockdowns. Things have been incredibly tough for the young people on our programmes, but we have adapted and flexed how we respond, and we are incredibly proud of how our beneficiaries have managed in this hugely difficult period.”
Challenge Academy - which uses a range of outdoor adventure facilities and activities to make innovative learning and development opportunities accessible for school excluded children and youth offenders:
“There has been a general concern amongst teachers and adults supporting young people about emotional health and wellbeing. The need to re-connect, socialise, work together through collaborative approaches, and develop essential soft skills are the aspects that need to be developed. This fits with what we believe and know; that no learning can take place until the learning culture is right. We have a responsibility to support this, we have done so by adapting our behaviour change resources such as 'Bags of Character' to be accessible, inclusive, and effective through and beyond the pandemic. These continue to have positive and lasting impact and legacy for the young people and adults who we work with in the West Midlands and across the UK.”
Sign up today and keep up to date with all our latest social impact news, innovations and insights so you never miss a thing.
Resonance Limited is a company registered in England and Wales no. 04418625
Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
Disclaimer: This website does not contain, constitute, nor does it form part of, an offer to sell or purchase or a solicitation of an offer to sell or purchase, any securities, investments or financial instruments referred to herein or to enter into any other transaction described herein. Resonance is not providing, and will not provide, any investment advice or recommendation (personal or otherwise) to you in relation to any securities, investments or financial instruments or transactions described herein. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this website, neither Resonance nor its officers accept any liability for its contents or for any errors or omissions.