Let’s make 2021 a year for the young

    Let’s make 2021 a year for the young

    Those of us of a certain age, who still think we’re young but in our heart of hearts know otherwise, often quietly or openly wish we were 25 again.

    There’s a lot to be said for being (a little) older at times. Experience helps us to cope with situations we’ve seen before, we have an established network of friends and contacts and we’re likely to get the COVID jab before the youngsters!

    Not only that, while the last 13 months of pandemic disruption has affected everyone, some generations have suffered more than others. The old have become isolated and lonely, and for those with dementia, and their families, it has been a horrible time. And for the young adults, the 18 to 25s, during a period in their lives which should be full of hope, excitement and ambition they have endured a year of frustration and disappointment. Socialising has been all but non-existent, for those in further education it has been a washout and for many young people in the workplace the pandemic has been a disaster.

    According to the latest set of figures provided by the Office of National Statistics young workers have borne the brunt of unemployment in the year to March 2021 and the country could be facing a labour crisis unless something is done quickly to boost skills. In the past 12 months 813,000 pay-rolled jobs were lost, according to the ONS, of which 54 per cent were held by people under 25. The biggest falls in employment were in the hospitality sector and in London, while education leavers and young black people were worst hit, and the number of job vacancies in this period fell by 23 per cent compared to previous years.

    While a recovery in the worst affected sectors will help young people to climb back into the labour market, employers need to make the most of the government’s Kickstart scheme which provides funding for businesses to recruit 18 to 24 year olds who are on Universal Credit. The UK economy is already showing signs of recovery but unless the employment gap is closed before the furlough scheme ends in September, the situation could deteriorate.

    Now is the perfect time to help our young people learn the critical skills that will equip them for later life in the workplace and, for those with a few years adulthood in the bag, then we must open to door to fast-track progress to jobs and positions they previously thought out of reach.

    Last week’s HDN webinar, How to get on Board by 35, was designed to inspire young people to believe in their ability to climb onto a board in the housing sector before they start listening to Radio 2! There’s a misplaced perception that a Housing Association board is for retired finance directors and people with three decades experience in the sector; but if that were the case then we can give up on effecting real change any time soon.

    The success of the housing sector depends on having input from younger people who are more in touch with their communities and can bring a fresh perspective to discussions and decision-making.

    So whatever your age, do something in 2021 to help the young. Maybe an encouraging word or a push to apply for training, or a job they don’t feel is for them. Recruiters; don’t pass up this opportunity and, for anyone reading this who is under 35…

    You know you can do it!


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