Barnett Waddingham helps disadvantaged young Londoners

29 April 2016

Youth unemployment remains an area of concern, even in one of the most prosperous regions in the UK, London. Around 20% of those aged between 16-24 have no job, with almost 25% out of work for more than a year. A number of business and charity stakeholders, supported by the The City of London Corporation, are seeking to find ways of supporting young people – particularly from disadvantaged areas – into employment within the City. The Brokerage Citylink, in partnership with Barnett Waddingham, has since 2015 been supporting London state school pupils connect with work within the City’s financial district.

Youth unemployment has been stubbornly high across the EU since the 2008 economic crisis; youth face an uphill battle securing a place for themselves within their respective economies. In many countries, youth unemployment has further resulted in depressed wages of those in employment and has led some pundits to talk about a ‘lost generation’. In the UK no less, with around 19.5% of those aged between 16 and 24 living in London neither in education nor in employment. The London youth unemployment rate is the third highest rate in England - while the region boosts one of the strongest local economies in the country

As it stands, 23% of young people that are unemployed, have been unemployed for more than 12 months. Paths out of the situation are also difficult to find, with few able to afford internships (at around £926 per month for living in the capital), while fewer apprenticeships are offered by employers in the capital (8%) compared to the rest of England (11%). Employers in the capital are seeking ways to improve pathways to employment for youth in the region, as noted in the report released by The City of London Corporation into the issue – which includes a range of propositions from business and community stakeholders to improve the situation for young people in the city.

The Brokerage Citylink, in partnership with Barnett Waddingham, is one of the contributors to the report. The Brokerage Citylink has been active in bridging the space between young people and the financial services industry for more than 20 years. The organisation seeks to support Londoners that face severe deprivation, disadvantage and income inequality move up in the business world and works exclusively with young people that attended London state schools.

The partnership between The Brokerage Citylink and Barnett Waddingham was formed last year, and so far involves running workshops for students - delivered by The Brokerage Citylink and held at Barnett Waddingham’s London office. The workshop involves tours around the firm’s office, highlighting the realities of working in the city and demonstrating that good careers in the city are attainable. In addition, the partners support the Brokerage’s Schools Business Challenge.

“We see a wealth of young, bright and enthusiastic students who just don’t get opportunities to see the inside of businesses with smart offices, or meet people who work there and find out what they do. At the same time, corporate executives get to see future talent in action, more representative of London’s diverse population. We see all our programmes as delivering a win/win, where everyone gains from the experience.”

The partnership continues into 2016. This year Barnett Waddingham will provide a range of additional support activities, such as CV writing workshops, mock assessment centres and practice interviews – all focused on the schools within disadvantaged outer London boroughs. The firm will also host Masterclasses, aimed at local sixth formers who will attend dedicated workshops, focusing on different practice areas within the business.