The first of its kind report, produced by the National Children's Bureau and Business In The Community on behalf of United Futures, calls on more UK businesses to support young people outside the classroom. It says UK businesses are refraining from engaging with young people because they don't see the benefits it could bring to their own business. Small and medium-sized businesses are even less likely to be involved with youth organisations and educational institutions.
The report also provides case studies of 'best practice' such as O2's Think Big programme, which utilises business expertise and resources to enable young people to run their own community projects.
In addition to the report from United Futures, new research commissioned by Telefónica UK also supports the findings. A poll conducted by YouGov of over 2,000 people across the UK found that, despite the crucial role of enterprise in helping to overcome the recession and push the economy forward, the public has increasingly low expectations of the business sector when it comes to helping the young unemployed back to work. They ranked young people themselves, government, schools and education and parents as the most responsible groups for addressing this challenge.
"All businesses, big and small, have a role to play in supporting young people on their journey to work and we're calling for companies up and down the country to take steps towards supporting young people in their area," says Ronan Dunne, chief executive of Telefónica UK. "This can be anything from partnering with local youth organisations and educational institutions and offering quality work experience and apprenticeships through to providing simple advice on what to wear on your first day and what to take to a meeting."
United Futures is a partnership programme that tries to break down barriers between businesses and the youth sector. It helps youth organisations and businesses work together and develop initiatives which support young people in locally.