Covid-19 has affected young adult’s career prospects; we can help

The UK Government recently announced a new £2bn scheme to tackle youth unemployment in the wake of Covid-19, proving that young people are facing challenges. That’s why the news of the YES Project reopening for online referrals comes at a crucial time for the young people of Leicester.

We help young adults, aged 15-24, who live in Leicester and Leicestershire and are not in employment, education or training (NEET). The individuals that benefit from the support of the project face multiple barriers such as mental health illnesses, low self-esteem, disabilities, as well as language and cultural barriers. We are a partnership of seven youth organisations and charities, offering one-to-one support, work placements, team building and skills training to young people to enable them to find work or move into further education.

At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, we made changes to our service delivery and temporarily suspended taking any new referrals. But over the course of the lockdown period, we have worked alongside our delivery partners to create a cohesive way of working that supports project participants and deliver a quality service reflecting lockdown easements. That’s why we’re now in a position to start working with new young people.

In recent weeks, there have been a series of reports published on the effects that Covid-19 has had on young adults, including one from project delivery partner, The Prince’s Trust (in collaboration with YouGov). The report details the different fears and anxieties that young people face as the United Kingdom emerges out of lockdown, revealing that more than a quarter of young adults fear their future prospects have been substantially impacted by the pandemic. Therefore, it is crucial that services such as ours continue to support these young adults and help them to address their fears and concerns.

In collaboration with delivery partners, we have created a varied menu of support available for young adults including employability workshops, mock interviews, virtual workplace tours, keep fit sessions and much more.

Over the weeks, the project has been able to continue to support participants that were enrolled prior to the pandemic. One participant, Mahek Sheik, felt that this really helped her stay active and positive over the weeks. She said:

“Lockdown has been so boring, but I’m grateful to everyone at the YES Project for their support and providing me with things to do. I’ve been able to contact someone either by text, email or phone and that’s really helped. It can be hard to stay motivated and I’ll be grateful to get back to normal.”

Harks Flora, YES Project Team Manager, said:

“We’re incredibly happy that we can now accept new referrals to the project because it means we’re able to help more young people in the community. Given the multiple reports and the recent announcement from the Chancellor, it’s clear that young people are struggling with unemployment in the current climate and they’re fearing for their career prospects. So hopefully this news will be welcomed by the people of Leicester.”