Opportunity Partnership celebrates first year’s achievements in tackling youth unemployment

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A blog from Asi Panditharatna, Catch22 Director of Apprenticeships and Employability, on creating even more opportunities for young people.

17 June 2014

Last week Chris Wright and I, along with staff and learners from Catch22′s Route to Work programme, attended the HSBC Opportunity Partnership Reception at the Houses of Parliament.

Catch22′s Chris Wright and Nick Hurd MP

We heard from HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint and Nick Hurd MP who made it clear that the Opportunity Partnership (OP) exemplifies a real commitment to collaboration between the private sector and its social enterprise and charity partners to tackling youth unemployment. Route to Work is the exciting Catch22 programme supported by the OP and in 2013/14 it supported 1,100 young people aged 16 to 24 into employment and apprenticeships.

We also know that the overall unemployment rate has fallen to 6.5% with youth unemployment falling by 59,000. However, there are still 853,000 unemployed young and people and 565,000 who are unemployed and not in full-time education. According to the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CESI) this is 17% more than before the recession. There is still plenty of work to be done by Government, providers and employers so the Opportunity Partnership’s work is very much welcomed.

Success stories

Beyond the stats are the lives of real people who have found work. At the reception we invited three former learners who had been supported by Catch22 Route to Work. Ben, Farhana and Scott had all been unemployed for the past 12 months and were struggling to get interviews for the roles they were applying for.

Farhana Akhter, Catch22 Route to Work learner

With support from Catch22 they were able to enhance their CVs, improve the way they applied for jobs and hone their interview skills. They also attended industry-specific recognised courses to prepare them for careers in their chosen professions. In recent months they have all found jobs and enjoy being in the world of work.

Ben, Farhana and Scott said being in work enabled them to enjoy new experiences, learn new skills, meet new people and discover what they really wanted to do in their future careers.

Hear more about the experiences of young people supported through the Opportunity Partnership.

Creating even more opportunities

HSBC also announced at the reception that it is extending its existing Traineeship Programme to all partners in the Opportunity Partnership, with the aim of providing 750 young people with the skills and experience to potentially gain entry level jobs in the bank. Catch22 is looking forward to getting its learners and job seekers ready to access this exciting programme.

Thank you to HSBC for a wonderful reception. It was great to meet so many talented young people supported by the OP who are enjoying their experiences in the world of work.

The Opportunity Partnership (left to right): Chris Wright, Martina Milburn, HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint, Nick Hurd MP, Rob Owen, Debbie Stedman-Scott

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