Youth employment – moving NEETS into work

April 20 2016  —  by Dave Marsh, Head of British Gas Academies

At Centrica, we are proud to play our part in society, supplying customers with the energy they need at home and at work. However, to succeed in the 21st century, we recognise that it is not enough for us simply to provide these energy products and services. We have to evolve how we do business and play our part to deliver positive change in society.

 

We know that in part some things have been getting better in recent years, wages are beginning to climb, taxes have come down for those on low incomes and employment figures have risen.

 

However, things haven’t got better for everyone. In particular, the population of young people Not in Education Employment or Training (NEETs) remains stubbornly high – with around 850,000 young people currently falling into this category.

 

In response to this, Centrica became a founding partner of the Movement to Work campaign in 2014.  We have led the way alongside other UK based businesses including Marks and Spencer, BT and Accenture to deliver an in-house pre-employment training programme. Our focus has been to help NEETS develop the necessary skills and confidence to flourish in work or to move on to further education and training. And in the first two years, we welcomed 438 young people onto our newly developed training programme.

 

Our Movement to Work course was delivered across six locations: Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Oldbury. Each course lasted 4-5 weeks and focussed on developing both confidence and the specific skills required of our customer services agents – a skill set directly transferable across our business and in many other organisations.

 

Of the 438 young people on the programme, fifty per cent went on to secure permanent employment either here with us or at other employers. Whilst we celebrate this achievement, we’re also conscious that of those entering the work place, not all stayed in that employment.  That is why over the next two years we will roll out an enhanced programme designed to reduce attrition rates.

 

Next month we will be launching a White Paper providing more detail about our experiences of introducing the Movement to Work programme into our business. We’ll be sharing our key lessons learned and our top tips for other businesses considering doing something similar. If you would like to receive a copy, please contact philippa.latimer@britishgas.co.uk


Dave Marsh

Dave Marsh, Head of British Gas Academies