Inspire to Hire? Reconnecting careers outreach and recruitment

March 9 2016  —  by Katy Neep, Head of Campaigns, Education, Business in the Community

At Business in the Community, through our education programmes Business Class and Careers Lab, we work with many businesses who provide holistic support to schools across the UK. From running personal development sessions for school staff to mentoring sessions for students, our network of Business Class Clusters has connected over 1000 companies to over 150,000 young people. We all know that direct contact with employers is vital to ensure that young people build successful working lives and business has a unique role to play in providing these opportunities. Research has shown that young people who undertake four or more employer engagement activities at school are five times less likely to become NEET (not in employment, education or training).

However, this fantastic work is not always connected to recruitment processes for entry level talent. Recently, BITC and the City & Guilds Group surveyed 4,000 18 to 24 year olds about their experiences of employment in the UK. One in three young people received careers advice in schools but only 10% said that this was the most useful source of careers information. CV-writing is a common careers activity in schools, even though this is a very restrictive format for young people with limited experience and many businesses no longer use CVs in recruitment.

Our recent research report Destiny should not be Determined by Demography, demonstrates the role that business has to play in ensuring that young people understand these behaviours and the qualifications required to build successful working lives. Supporting young people to be better prepared for the labour market has a positive impact and reduces the likelihood of them being Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). The research concludes that pupils participating in Business Class are 13% more likely to have alignment between their academic activities and their career aspirations. Which in turn improves the chances of these young people making a successful transition into the labour market.

Companies don’t just need to think about planning an inspiring careers education programme but also about how their hiring process for entry level positions recognises the potential that these activities unlocks. If your business runs an enterprise challenge in local schools; does your recruitment processes value this kind of experience? If your company sponsors volunteering programmes for young people; do you ask questions about social action on your application forms?

With a skills shortage and the new apprenticeship levy forcing businesses to rethink how they recruit young people – this is the ideal opportunity for this disconnect to be mended. What’s more by making the connections between inspiring, hiring and growing your future workforce, you can make sure your work in schools, helps to supply your longer term talent pipeline.

Our new Youth Employment Framework of ‘inspire, hire and grow’ is about empowering businesses to make these connections. Inspire young people by preparing them for the world of work, hire them by creating quality and accessible jobs and grow and support them as your young talent. This is about making sure you CSR outreach activities in schools are linked to your HR practices in your workplace. From our Business Class programme and work inspiration toolkits to our guidance on behaviour based recruitment our site can help you to implement this joined up approach to employing young people.  

To help you map out this approach we’ve developed the Youth Employment Assessment Tool. It’s a free online tool that takes just 10 minutes to complete and will generate a bespoke report for your business on how well you are inspiring, hiring and growing young people.


Katy Neep

Head of Campaigns, Education, Business in the Community