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Over 100 jobs pledged as part of Evening Standard & Independent campaign

More than 100 unemployed young people in London will be given a life-changing chance to step onto the career ladder, thanks to companies who have backed the Skill Up Step Up campaign launched by The Evening Standard and The Independent in December.

Over 100 jobs pledged as part of Evening Standard & Independent campaign
David Cohen: “We need to keep this going because this is a load that is lightened considerably if we act collectively.” Photograph: Gianmarco on Unsplash.

The Skill Up Step Up campaign aims to upskill unemployed and disadvantaged young Londoners so they can be “work ready” and step up into sustainable jobs or apprenticeships.

Youth unemployment in London has soared to 98,000 since the start of the pandemic, a 44% increase. According to the Office for National Statistics, 19.5 per cent of Londoners aged 16-24 seeking work remain jobless. This is 3.5 times the average rate across all ages in the capital. Meanwhile, job vacancies hit a record high of 1.25 million at the end of 2021. This mismatch between job seekers and job vacancies, caused largely by an employability skills and experience gap, is leading to wasted lives and billions of pounds of lost productivity for the UK’s economy, say the publishers.

Almost a dozen employers have so far pledged to hire 119 disadvantaged young Londoners who have been up-skilled by Springboard, one of the charities that is being funded as part of the £1m campaign, which is in partnership with Barclays LifeSkills.

The employers include Compass Group, which operates catering facilities at iconic London venues such as Chelsea FC and The O2, who have pledged 60 jobs, and PPHE Hotel Group, which owns the Park Plaza and Art’otel brand, and has offered 50 jobs. Popular Islington restaurant Ottolenghi has weighed in with three jobs. This is in addition to the six employers who have pledged to hire young people skilled up by the campaign’s second charity partner, City Gateway.

The Skill Up Step Up campaign will continue to shine a spotlight on youth unemployment and invite companies — large, medium and small — to step up to the plate with a pledge to employ one or more trainees in a job or apprenticeship. Employers are asked to contact the London Community Foundation, who are managing the process at: skillup@londoncf.org.uk

David Cohen, Campaigns Editor, The Evening Standard and The Independent, commented: “We are off to a flying start. Our campaign to upskill jobless young people in the capital and give them a foot up onto the career ladder has clearly struck a chord with employers. We need to keep this going because this is a load that is lightened considerably if we act collectively."

Chris Gamm, Chief Executive, Springboard, added: “Springboard is delighted to be supporting young Londoners into much needed roles in hospitality through the Skill Up Step Up campaign. Hospitality provides a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn new skills, develop both professionally and personally and begin a lifelong career, whilst having fun and meeting new people. Some of the industry’s biggest and best employers have pledged live jobs through the campaign and are committed to giving these young trainees a chance, recognising them as the next generation of our industry’s workforce. These individuals are vital to the future of hospitality and Springboard will be supporting the trainees to get them motivated, skilled, confident and ready for work.”

Compass spokesperson Donna Catley said: “We pledge 60 vacancies which include roles such as commis chef, chef de partie, barista and hospitality and customer service operator. This is a great opportunity to help unemployed young people in London find a job they can progress in.”

The Skill Up Step Up campaign builds on a heritage of charitable campaigning by the two media brands, including the Evening Standard’s ‘Food for London Now’ 2020 appeal, in partnership with The Felix Project, which raised over £10 million and delivered 20 million meals to vulnerable people, frontline charities and NHS hospitals, say the publishers.

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