The Corona Class of 2020: how we can support future workers

By Charlotte Haynes, Projects Officer at CIPD (Social Impact and Innovation team)

Graduates and school leavers hoping to enter the job market this summer are now facing bleak employment prospects. This is “the Corona class of 2020”, as they are now known 

“Youth employment prospects are crumbling,” says Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD. “We are already seeing evidence that recruitment has fallen sharply, which is not surprising given that the government’s focus is on preserving [existing] jobs.” Job retention schemes have become the priority for many organisationsputting on hold internships, apprenticeships, and graduate programs and creating a sense of abandonment in young adults 

In the long term there is a risk that the next generation of workers will face reduced pay and limited job prospects. For low skilled young adults, the chances of getting a job could reduce by a third and graduate roles available to drop by 13%, according to a recent report by the Resolution Foundation. The UK is facing the prospect of one million young workers being unemployed if youth unemployment levels continue to rise.  

Education, employers, and government working together 

Experts are urging government, education providers and businesses to work together to limit these long-term effects. One way to tackle youth unemployment is for employers to continue connecting with schools, colleges, and students.  

The Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) is specifically calling out for careers education not to be forgotten during this time. Schools and colleges have been forced to prioritise managing the implications of cancelled exams, supporting children of key workers, and ensuring their pupils can be educated from home.  

But it is vital that students continue to receive careers education as now more than ever, young people need the extra support and guidance when thinking about their futures within these difficult labour market conditions.  

For the last five years, the CIPD has partnered with the CEC on a volunteering scheme, the Enterprise Adviser program, that matches strategic business leaders with schools and colleges to work together to produce inspiring and quality careers curriculums. 

Employers have already been stepping up to inspire students with virtual activities including online tours of workplaces and creating “learning in lockdown” materials for student’s home schooling. Although many schools and colleges remain closed, there are opportunities for senior leaders across all sectors, including HR professionals, to support students and careers teachers from a distance by becoming an Enterprise Adviser. Enterprise Advisers are working remotely with careers leaders to help build a virtual careers curriculum for their students, giving insight into the labour market and sharing opportunities that are out there for young adults thinking about their first jobs.  

This is a challenging time for everyone but, if supported by employers, young adults can use this time to make connections, develop their CVs, investigate sectors and employers and begin to think about where their skills fit best 

Through the CIPDstrategic professionals can help demystify the career and training opportunities available to young adults. To find out how you can help build this much needed resource, and learn more about volunteering with schools, visit:  

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