“Car Crash” career prospects for young people post Covid, says college principal

By Ian Mean Business West Gloucestershire Director
Business West breakfast at Bowden Hall.Picture: Eloisa Wildsmith

One of the most worrying factors of the Covid-19 crisis is the prospect of youth  unemployment  surging past one million in the coming months.

Young people are our future, and here in Gloucestershire we have excellent further education colleges which are extremely worried.

The well respected Resolution Foundation think tank has just reported that as many as 600 000 more 18-24 year olds could become unemployed  over the next year on top of  408,000 in the age group currently out of work.

At a time when no companies are taking on staff and  many planning lay-offs, something like 800 000 school and university leavers are about to enter the workforce.

I am an hon. vice president of Gloucestershire College so I asked principal Matt Burgess how he saw the position for young people and the start of the new college in September.

“It’s a car crash”, he said bluntly.

And it is.

He sent me the content of a BBC Newsbeat feature on young people’s difficulties in getting a job in the wake of Covid-19.

It was depressing to say the least.

And the Resolution Foundation say: ”The  Corona class of 2020 could face years of reduced pay and limited job prospects long after the economic storm has passed unless the government provides additional support and fast”.

Matt Burgess told me that Covid would mean that young people would now be competing with many more experienced people who have lost their jobs in the crisis.

So, what must be done to help this impending crisis for our young people?

Matt believes government must come forward to finance skills programmes to encourage our young people into the economy’s new growth sectors.

Gloucestershire has made a name for itself for developing apprenticeships-we must not lose that.

Government has developed innovative financial packages to help businesses survive this crisis. They must now do the same for young people.

They are the future post Covid.