Supporting young people in the post-pandemic world

Did you know that 63% of payroll jobs lost during the pandemic were held by workers under the age of 25? In the House of Lords this week, Bishop Steven asked the government what steps they will be taking to ensure young people have access to education and training that focuses on the skills and knowledge employers will require in the post-pandemic world.

My Lords, during their working lives, this generation will face the full implications of not only the COVID pandemic but the fourth industrial revolution and the need to transform our economy to net zero.

Young people will need to build meaningful careers, not simply survive from gig to gig. Can the minister therefore explain where strategic thinking is happening and where policies interlock to provide the skills, employment safeguards and quality jobs, linked to national priorities, which young people will need?

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft
Bishop of Oxford
16 June 2021

The government’s own net-zero commitments should be factored into the decision-making process for attracting employers and selecting course providers in order to ensure those now entering the world of work have the right skills and training for the most important – and increasingly urgent – national tasks ahead.

Under-investment in active labour market policies, in the midst of not only COVID-19 but also an unfolding fourth industrial revolution and twin climate and ecological emergencies, will harm everyone, not just those currently under 25 and unemployed. Frontloading investment to eliminate youth unemployment would give this generation the best start on these tasks.

A clear target and timescale for eradicating NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) in this age group are needed – recognising the magnitude and urgency of the challenge in transitioning to net zero and the immediate benefits of harnessing this fourth industrial revolution. We will increasingly depend on this generation of 16-24-year-olds to complete the nation’s most urgent tasks across their working lives.

Follow Bishop Steven on Facebook and read more of his thoughts on the fourth industrial revolution.