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Coaching to improve youth employability

January 17 2014 - A recent presentation at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology in Brighton put forward the view that when young people have a positive outlook, self-belief and skills for the workplace they are happier, sleep better and are more well-behaved.

The presentation by Ali Shalfrooshan of Assessment & Development Consultants (a&dc) and Louise Brown from ThinkForward reported on a pilot coaching scheme aimed at addressing the challenge of youth unemployment in England. Over 270 students from 12 secondary schools completed a bespoke questionnaire to evaluate their mindset and employability skills. Significant correlations were shown with self-reported happiness and satisfaction. According to Ali Shalfrooshan:

"Positive attitudes such as self-belief, aspiration, flexibility and appetite for learning were associated with less hyperactivity, fewer emotional problems, fewer problems with fellow pupils, and greater inclination to help others - pupils with this positive mindset were also happier and slept better. Interestingly, a range of employability skills, such as people skills, teamwork, problem solving and planning were also associated with greater happiness."

Known as NEETS, at least 1 in 5 youths may not be in education, employment or training, costing the economy billions of pounds from lost productivity. The researchers argue that coaching young people can enable them to better thrive during these 'volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times.'

Previous article - Youth Unemployment Overstated

March 16 2011 - The notion of a 'lost generation' of young jobless people is simplistic, according to a Work Audit report on official labour market statistics "Getting the measure of youth unemployment" from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

There is no denying that the UK has a serious youth unemployment problem but the CIPD report concludes that only a relative minority of young people is experiencing severe difficulty and the current situation is not worse than ever before. The CIPD argues that the common perception that one in five 16-24 year olds are unemployed is based on a misinterpretation of the official statistics.

Youth unemployment can only be properly understood within the context of much greater participation in post-16 education over recent decades. Also, almost 30 per cent of young people classified as unemployed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are actually in full-time education. The CIPD contend that it is more accurate to say that one in eight rather than one in five 16-24 year olds are unemployed. The CIPD argues that the ONS and the Department for Work and Pensions should issue a joint statement on the measurement of youth unemployment to help establish a better informed policy narrative on causes of and solutions to the problem.

Dr John Philpott, CIPD Chief Economic Adviser said:

"The conclusion that 1 in 8 young people are unemployed rather than the frequently cited but misleading figure of 1 in 5 provides no comfort to those without work. But a more realistic picture of the scale of the problem would help move the policy narrative beyond the simplistic 'lost generation' rhetoric. Aside from ensuring that fiscal and monetary policy are conducive to growth and job generation the principal policy focus should be on how best to reduce underlying structural youth unemployment which is probably close to the 9%-10% rate observed prior to the recession and likely to persist even when the demand for labour eventually picks up.

"Especially worrying in this respect is the observation that core youth unemployment is not only far worse than desirable but itself appears to have had been getting worse for a few years prior to the recession, suggesting that either the employability of the core youth jobless is deficient and/or that the cost of employing them is too high relative to their labour market value. This implies the need for faster progress on vocational skills and welfare policy, a thorough review of the effect of the national minimum wage on youth employment and an assessment of the case for reducing national insurance contributions for employers hiring young people with limited skills."



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