This year in Scotland we are celebrating our young people. All 590,000 of them. And there’s even more to celebrate: we have just been awarded £200k from the Scottish Government to help with this. Read on to find out how you can get involved…
Young people aged 16-24 years old make up 11% of our population. And for a small country with an ageing population, our young people are becoming increasingly important as a positive influence to be engaged. Interpreting today’s world and the opportunities and challenges we all face in innovative and creative ways, they contribute diversity of thought to our way of being and to how we live our lives – both at play and at work.
Conversations with young people in our networks highlight interesting motivations on their journeys from education to employment. Being solely driven by money or the desire for a job for life which in the past have influenced their thinking, are being replaced by considerations such as “I want to work in cross functional teams across a business”, “I want access to inspirational senior colleagues”, “I want to work flexibly” and “I want to travel”. And the challenge for many organisations as they seek to attract, recruit and, importantly, retain young people is how to blend together their desires with the needs of the business and maximise their skills, talents and creativity.
“We were doing a lot of work to make ourselves an attractive employer to young people” says Mark Smith, former Head of Early Careers Strategy at Standard Life Aberdeen plc. “And we wanted to spend time creating an experience that young people could benefit from, looking at how we could support them, making sure our recruitment tools were fit for purpose, putting in place development tools to help young people progress”.
Standard Life Aberdeen plc are one of the 425+ organisations in Scotland to achieve the Investors in Young People award. It is a unique framework, specifically created to help organisations in Scotland recruit, develop and retain young people. Its value lies in supporting organisations to follow a step-by-step process that addresses skills gaps, plans their current workforce and creates a talent pool for the future. And it has a social impact in helping to tackle youth unemployment within our country, which since 2014 when Investors in Young People was launched, has reduced from 52,000 to 27,000 last year - a decrease of 48.3%, 25,000. Now whilst the Investors in Young People award can’t claim all the credit for these statistics(!), it is influencing the trend in the right direction.
Catherine Eastwood, HR Advisor, from the Roslin Institute (Easter Bush Campus) explains, “we witnessed self-proclaimed shy, unconfident young people transforming into networking, idea-generating strategists. It’s exciting to think what we can achieve”.
So what is Investors in Young People all about? Well, progressing through the framework leads to an accreditation which is a proud demonstration of an organisation’s commitment to youth employment. And there are 3 levels of accreditation – Standard, Silver and Gold – each one is more progressive and challenging than the next yet, each a fantastic recognition in its own right.
95% of businesses involved with Investors in Young People say it is relevant to their organisation and as a result 93% of young people within these organisations feel valued*.
“Investors in Young People gives young people a voice” says Peter Russian, our CEO. “It supports organisations to tap into young people’s fresh insights, new ideas and diversity of expectations. It develops them and their teams to become dynamic and increasingly productive. And of course, investing in our young people can help tackle challenges such as Scotland’s skills gaps, talent development, customer insights, succession planning and our ageing population”.And so, like the circle of life we are back at the beginning… start your journey to achieving Investors in Young People this year, with up to 100% funding available*.
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