Business leaders call for more Government help for young people

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber chief executive Louise Bennett. Photo submitted

Business leaders in Warwickshire are calling for the Government to do more to help young people get ready for the workplace in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Unemployment is forecast to rise steeply over the coming months as support such as the Job Retention scheme begin to be phased out and companies assess the true damage that has been done by the crisis.

Young people are predicted to be the hardest hit and Chambers of Commerce across the Midlands are urging Government to link any investment in skills training with engagement with employers in order to meet the needs of business.

Chambers across the Midlands have more than 8,000 business members but also engage heavily with the education sector through schools, colleges and other educational establishments.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, says now, more than ever, it is vital that young people are equipped with the skills that will be needed as firms look to grow again out of the Coronavirus crisis.

She said: “The fall-out from the Coronavirus crisis is going to impact our economy for years to come and unemployment, which has remained very low over a sustained period of time, is expected to be one of the major issues.

“Young people are already disproportionately affected by unemployment and that is set to rise in the coming months.

“It’s vitally important, therefore, to listen to businesses when new programmes are being devised to help equip young people with the skills they need to get into, and stay in, the workplace.

“Chambers are a long-standing bridge between the business and the education sectors and we’d urged Government to tap into those links in order to ensure that the needs of employers and the practicalities of delivery are fully appreciated.

“Getting young people to be work-ready is not something that has been brought on by Coronavirus but tackling it will give us a solid foundation for rebuilding our economy in the aftermath of the crisis.”