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New £2m project to turbo-charge careers education for disadvantaged young people in England

Liverpool City Region is one of 10 projects that has been selected to help young people who face significant barriers in life.

JPMorgan Chase and The Careers & Enterprise Company have launched a £2 million programme to help connect disadvantaged young people in England with the education and skills they need to prepare them for their future careers.

The project, with philanthropic support by JPMorgan Chase and rolled out by the national body for careers education, The Careers & Enterprise Company, will work with secondary school pupils facing significant barriers to help them prepare for the world of work. This will include young people from low-income families, on free school meals, those living in areas of high deprivation, and those who have been excluded from school.

Following a competitive application process across England’s network of regional Career Hubs, ten projects have been selected across the England. Each is being developed with teachers, school leaders and businesses, with a focus on the changing nature of jobs resulting from trends like artificial intelligence and automation. The two-year projects will provide insights into the interventions and policy solutions most effective in helping disadvantaged young people transition from school into work, training and further education.

In Liverpool City Region, working class boys who face significant barriers in life and who are at risk of not entering employment, training or further studies after they finish school will be supported.

Over two and a half years the project will provide each young person taking part with a mentor, develop a personal development plan to increase their skills and confidence for their future careers, put them in touch with local employers to broaden their aspirations and develop a network of positive role-models and organisations they can use for advice and information about the working world.

About the project, Gill Walsh, Liverpool City Region Careers Hub Lead at Growth Platform said: “We are excited to be delivering this project working directly with 11 schools and supporting over 120 boys across our City Region during the next two years. This project will help them access numerous opportunities to support their progression whilst also gaining lifelong skills to enable them to achieve their goals.”

Examples of other programmes being established around England are:

  • In London, a peer network is being created to support young black students excluded from school.
  • Young people from some of the most deprived areas of Lancashire will participate in extended work placements alongside their studies to build skills and aspirations beyond the school gates.
  • In Leeds, young girls on free school meals will be partnered with businesses in growth sectors in the local economy, and go through coaching, work experience and a programme to develop their work-readiness skills.

Projects will also work with young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and a project in Dorset will test rewarding students for taking part in work experience alongside intensive one on one support to open their eyes to all the options and pathways open to them in their local area.

JPMorgan Chase announced the UK as one of 10 global sites to receive career readiness investments as part of the firm’s $75 million global commitment to better prepare young people for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

These multi-year philanthropic investments are part of the firm’s global career readiness initiative to prepare young people for the future of work and drive an inclusive economic recovery. England is the second site outside of the U.S. to participate in the programme following a commitment made to Spain in September 2021.

Viswas Raghavan, CEO of EMEA at JPMorgan Chase, said: “Building a skilled workforce and ensuring that all students have access to the support and real world experiences they need is critical to building an inclusive economy that works for all. Too many young people, particularly those from underrepresented communities, are entering the workforce without the skills and resources they need. Collaboration between the public and private sector is key, and that’s why we’re pleased to support the Careers and Enterprise Company to help more young people get on the pathway to a promising career.”

Stephanie Mestrallet, Head of UK Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase, said: “Quality and timely careers information, advice and guidance is critical to helping young people fulfil their potential and succeed in future careers. With the rapid proliferation of technology, the world of work is transforming at an incredibly high pace, and young people from low-income backgrounds need extra support to clear pathways to good jobs. We are delighted to be supporting The Careers & Enterprise Company to provide intensive support to over a thousand young people over the next two years and to build the evidence for what works in supporting effective transitions to the future job market.”

Oli de Botton, Chief Executive at The Careers & Enterprise Company, added: “Helping young people find their best next step out of school into work, training or further study is important at the best of times. As we help this generation bounce back from the pandemic this work will become critical. As a Headteacher I’ve seen first-hand just how transformative high quality, high impact careers education can be for the most disadvantaged young people – particularly at key transition points.

“These projects will deliver cutting edge approaches to careers education for those young people who battle the odds. Built by communities, for communities, our goal is to support approaches that remove barriers and help young people transition securely onto brilliant pathways.”

Baroness Morgan of Cotes, the former Secretary of State for Education who is on the board of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “As society rebuilds from the pandemic, providing support to those young people who face some of the highest, hardest obstacles as they grow up couldn’t be more important.

“These new projects, backed by JPMorgan Chase and The Careers & Enterprise Company, will help to transform the lives of some of this country’s most disadvantaged young people. Helping these students make the move from education into the world of work, with programmes that draw on the latest research, will help them to enter secure jobs for the long term. But as important, it will also help policy makers understand how outstanding careers education can contribute towards tackling unemployment in this country.”

New research shines spotlight on widening skills gap

According to a recent global survey, one in six younger adults stopped working since the outbreak of COVID, with young workers aged 18 to 24 more likely to lose their jobs. The same survey found that one in eight young students were left without any access to education or training.

Even before the pandemic, rapid changes in technology, automation, and artificial intelligence continued to shape the economy and exacerbate the disconnect between skills and jobs, setting young people further behind.

The programmes launching across England have been informed by a new report the Careers & Enterprise Company and the Behavioural Insights Team.
The report brings together the latest evidence and data and makes recommendations on what works most effectively to improve careers education for students facing the greatest barriers growing up.

The report finds that:

  • ‘Career confusion’ can be experienced by many disadvantaged young people, with a wide range of complex post-16 (years old) options to choose from.
  • Programmes that young people engage with repeatedly over time, rather than through a one-off interaction, are more effective.
  • Supporting parents and carers, who have a bigger influence on a young person’s decisions about their careers, is important.
  • Creating social capital for young people, particularly by creating peer networks, employer engagement and mentoring can help break down the barriers disadvantaged young people face.