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Empowering young adults: strategies for supporting entry into the workforce

In this blog, we explore how companies can better support young adults entering the workforce. We'll discuss practical strategies and initiatives that can help bridge the gap between education and employment, ensuring young professionals have the tools and opportunities they need to succeed.

9th Jul 2024

In line with World Youth Skills Day on July 15th, we’re looking at how employers can support young adults entering the workforce. From apprenticeships to mentorship programs, there are lots of ways to make a significant impact. Let's look at some insights and strategies that can help empower our youth and smooth their transition into the working world.

The challenge: bridging the experience gap

One of the biggest hurdles facing young adults is the lack of practical work experience. As Alex Her, Global Employer Storyteller points out, "Without this, we're setting our youth up for failure, as they finish university with a degree that they really can't put to use."

“This is where employers can step in and make a real difference. By partnering with placement services and universities, companies can offer young adults valuable opportunities to gain that much-needed experience.”

The power of mentorship and internships

Mentorship programs and internships are often underrated, yet they hold the potential to be game-changers for young adults. These opportunities provide invaluable hands-on experience, guidance, and industry connections that can boost their career prospects. By participating in such programs, young adults can gain practical skills, receive personalised advice from experienced professionals, and build a network that supports their professional growth.

Alex shares his personal experience with mentorship and internships 

“I think mentorship programs and internship/externship programs are a must and really underrated. Speaking on a personal level, I was able to get to where I'm at now by having internship opportunities, and a mentor. The internships gave me real-life experience that the university couldn't and having a mentor helped me make smarter decisions with what I wanted to do with my career.”

These programs are a bridge between academic learning and real-world application, helping young adults navigate the new world of career development.
In this short video Transcom's marketing recruitment intern Safia shares the skill's she's gained in the last month.

Creating opportunities 

Every opportunity  can make a big difference when it comes to helping young adults in the workplace. Ellie Wort, Learning Game Designer at Profitability, shared an inspiring example:

"This year we are offering work experience to a 15-year-old budding Game Designer! She will get to see how our industry works and gain relevant experience that might just help her bag her first role out of college. I know that my work experience and volunteering helped me build confidence and figure out what really inspired me, so I'm happy we can give the same opportunity to her."

These kinds of initiatives not only give young adults valuable experience but also help them build confidence and discover their passions.

How can you measure success?

When it comes to assessing the effectiveness of these initiatives, companies need to think long-term. Alex shares his thoughts on how to approach this: 

“I think companies need to play the long game when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of initiatives around young adults. It's a much different approach than working with individuals who have been in their field for many years. I think companies should look at the type of work that they can provide young adults, effectiveness of each completed project, and overall ROI behind the program. If done correctly, there are a lot of savings that can be had that in turn help the young adult truly develop with real life skills to use.”

Collaboration is key

Companies don’t have to tackle these challenges on their own. By working together, companies can leverage community resources, access government support programs, and create more impactful initiatives that benefit both the organisation and the community. These partnerships can lead to tailored training programs, apprenticeship opportunities, and other collaborative efforts that support young adults in gaining the skills and experience needed to succeed in the workforce.

Alex shares: 

“I think a company can collaborate with local communities/government agencies by simply striking up a partnership. I've yet to come across a group that is not willing to partner with an employer. It's a win-win situation for all involved.”

Advice for companies: take the leap

As Alex shares, the message to companies is clear: "Take the leap and support young adults. There's always a constant concern with a skills gap, but employers need to do their part to resolve this. If there's more focus on young adults and setting them up for success, we can make it easier for them to find the right opportunities.”

Supporting young adults in their journey into the workforce isn't just good for them—it's good for business and society as a whole. By providing opportunities for real-world experience, mentorship, and skill development, we can help shape a more prepared and confident workforce for the future.

So, what steps will you take to support young adults in your industry? Whether it's offering internships, partnering with educational institutions, or simply providing a day of work shadowing, every effort counts. Let's work together to empower the next generation of professionals!