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Verity Davidge: Employers should be reading up on the #newtowork campaign too

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Verity Davidge, Head of Education & Skills Policy at EEF the manufacturers' organisation talks about recruiting younger people in the workplace

Verity Davidge

Verity Davidge is Head of Education & Skills Policy at EEF, the manufacturers' organisation

Verity Davidge EEF

It's exam results time. Young people up and down the country have already torn open those big brown envelopes to unveil their A level results and this week those that have sat their GCSEs this summer will be doing exactly the same.

This time of year makes us all relive those memories. A rush of anxiety and excitement. After all, it's what's in those envelopes that will determine your next step in life.

Many young people will be thinking about where to go next. Some will opt for the academic route - typically A Levels followed by university. But others will choose a vocational pathway, such as apprenticeship. Some will go straight into employment.

Manufacturers are crying out for young talent. Two-thirds are on the lookout for engineering graduates, two-thirds are wanting engineering apprentices, and an increasing number are also on the hunt for apprentices to work in other areas of their business, such as sales and marketing, IT and finance. The opportunities are there for the taking.

But it's not just about the opportunities that are available to them that young people need to know about. It's their rights and responsibilities in the workplace. Many people forget that an apprentice is, more often than not, employed with the employer within which they undertake their on-the-job training. Therefore, knowing their rights and responsibilities in paramount.

Luckily, Acas are currently running a campaign #newtowork, which gives new workers a complete low down of what they need to know - from types of employment contracts, to sickness and absence to behaviour on social media.

While the campaign is targeted at young people to ensure that they are in the know, it is actually a vital campaign for employers to follow too.

Take for example, the overly complex matter of apprentice pay. Yes, the majority of employers know there is a minimum wage for apprentices, currently £3.50 per hour. But how many employers always know that if the apprentice turns 25 in year 2 of the apprenticeship, that they then must be paid the national living wage?

With more and more young people using various social media channels, from Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat to Instagram, it's great that Acas offer advice to young people on the use of social media and touches on the dos and don'ts when looking for a new job or apprenticeship. But there's also a message for employers here too; do you have a social media policy? Is it up to date? Is it fair and balanced?

This campaign also reminds us that starting that new job or new apprenticeship, particularly your first new job or apprenticeship, leaves many of us in that state of wanting to ask all those questions, but not always feeling we can, keeping them stored up in a notebook to ask at a later date.

That's why it's fundamental that employers have a clear induction/on-boarding programme and wherever possible to provide a new young recruit with a mentor or a buddy, someone who can answer all those questions or at least point them in the right direction.

EEF fully supports the #newtowork campaign and urges employers and young people a like to get involved.

Employing younger workers information from Acas

Employing younger workers

Read other blogs on younger workers

Alex Newton: Young people - when does a label become unhelpful?

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