Breaking down barriers: Working towards Birmingham’s future

‘Breaking Down Barriers: Working Towards Birmingham’s Future’ report was produced by Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet to assess the impact Covid-19 has had on young people seeking employment and work experience.

As of July 2021, almost one in five young people in Birmingham are now out of work, substantially greater than the current UK average of 13.5% for 18 to 24 youth unemployment.

Many of the young people surveyed spoke about economic hardship, mental health challenges and growing fears for the future, while others did not feel they had the skills and knowledge needed to kickstart their careers.

In a survey conducted by the charity Prince’s Trust, 23% of young people aren’t confident about their future careers, rising to 40% for NEET young people (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

A Young People’s Survey revealed that over three-quarters of respondents (76.6%) believe that their mental health has either significantly or slightly deteriorated over the course of the pandemic.

The findings highlighted that 86.7% of young people felt stressed that they had missed out on employment opportunities or taken their first steps toward financial independence. Whilst 72.4% of young people felt more anxious over their career prospects, missing out on life experiences and the future in general.

From an educational perspective, there was general agreement from representatives that young people are facing a number of different barriers to success, rather than one major barrier in isolation.

For example, 83% recognised a shortage of work experience or volunteering opportunities to build a CV as a major barrier, alongside not having information about all the options and opportunities available to them (44%) and the cost of travel (44%).

Talon Golding, Director of Pavilion Training, comments: “This is an important survey which shines a stark light on the challenges faced by young people today. Employment pressures, financial strain and mental health problems form a vicious circle for many – we need to provide targeted and meaningful support that gives young people the tools required to take control of their future.”.

Pavilion Training is here to help! If you know any 16–24-year-old who needs a little extra support in either making the first steps into employment or even what career path is right for them, then please ask them to get in touch.