Perth-based SSE – one of Britain’s Big Six energy providers – has highlighted the business case for companies to do more to support young people written off from the jobs market.
Young people are three times more likely to be unemployed in the UK than their older counterparts with a “wage scar” blighting them for life – meaning they’re playing catch up on salary for the rest of their working days.
SSE has been working with Barnardo’s for almost a decade to help offer jobs and training to those under 25 and finding it hard to gain work or training. It has invested over £1 million pounds since 2008 but claims the ’investment’ has paid dividends.
It found for every £1 spent by SSE, £7.67 is returned on the investment, split between the young people themselves, SSE and other businesses that have gone on to employ them as well as wider society.
John Stewart, SSE’s HR Director, said: “The energy industry faces two enormous employment challenges; a skills shortage with half of the industry due to leave or retire by 2023 and a stark lack of diversity.
“These results make a very compelling economic and social case for a business to address these issues and intervene in one of society’s bigger challenges: tackling long-term youth unemployment.
Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Minister for Work Skills and Training, commented: “This report is further proof that it makes good economic sense to invest in young people. I’d like to thank SSE and Barnardo’s for their work to support into jobs those furthest from the labour market. I’d also like to thank them for their research which I hope many businesses will find useful.”
Beth Porter, 20, of Perth, was stuck on a zero hours contract with a retailer and unable to earn enough to sustain her. She secured a permanent job as a HR administrator with SSE after going through the scheme.
She said: “I wanted to work but I was on a zero hours contract and wasn’t getting enough hours to live and I couldn’t get experience in anything else. I wanted to find something where I could develop but didn’t know where to start.
”The extra support helped me into a job where I can build a career, I wasn’t singled out because of the scheme – I was just given everyday work like the rest of my team.
“Now I’ve mentored several new starters who have since joined my team and have actually recently been offered a new role where I’ll have more responsibilities too.”