Backing Young Lancashire

Gillian BeeleyThere’s an old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.

At Lancashire Education Business Partnership we see this every day. Employers across the region are part of that ‘village’ doing an amazing job.

They help to raise our young people by helping them to develop the skills which will be useful in adult and working life.

Whilst this corporate social responsibility is valuable on a number of levels, when businesses are stretched during a recession, it might be easy to turn this involvement with young people off.

I have been very impressed by the continued commitment of employers to our young people who are in education.

Lancashire Education Business Partnership works with 15,000 employers supporting activities which help young people become more employable and to make more informed choices about their future – in fact by building bridges between education and employers, we create about 40,000 work related learning opportunities every year.

And by working together in this way, businesses benefit by seeing talent up close, and the young people get a chance to show off their skills.

For those young people who have gone through the education system and who are now seeking work, they are facing some tough challenges.

With youth unemployment reaching an all time high (set to be one million), the government has implemented a range of measures to help young people get onto the employment ladder.

These were launched under the Backing Young Britain banner and include internships, work experience, mentoring – indeed many of the things Lancashire Education Business Partnerships facilitates for 14 to 19 year olds.

Instead of thinking of these young people as a liability, I wonder if we as employers might have a rethink?

We have in those young job seekers a body with skills, knowledge, energy and enthusiasm. Our challenge is to consider how we harness all this to benefit our businesses and make a difference to the bottom line.

Lancashire Education Business Partnership recently took on two graduates under the Shell STEP programme; it was a very cost effective way of expediting a particular project and it gave those young people valuable experience. I am sure we could use similar approaches to move the Charity forward.

So please do have a look at the Backing Young Britain website (just Google the phrase) – there is some good advice.

Together we can back Lancashire’s young people and get some real business benefits.

Gillian Beeley, chief executive, Lancashire Education Business Partnership.