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Employment

Tech firms advertise ‘20,000 jobs for young people’ with more on the way

Those aged 16 to 24 could soon benefit from more opportunities as companies sign up to the Government’s kickstart scheme

Increasing numbers of young people are entering the tech industry and bucking the trend of youth unemployment during the pandemic, new research has found.

Jobs search engine Adzuna, which has partnered with The Big Issue to help provide opportunities through the Ride Out Recession Alliance, found one in six roles advertised by tech firms at the beginning of March were targeted at young people, equating to more than 20,000 openings. 

And more opportunities could be coming down the pipeline as 60 per cent of leading technology companies, including established firms such as TalkTalk, are using the Government’s Kickstart scheme. 

The initiative provides funding for employers who create job placements for 16-to-24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. 

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“Tech companies are a leading light in the UK economy and are already playing an important part in the hiring recovery,” said Adzuna co-founder Andrew Hunter.

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“It’s critical to ensure these opportunities flow down to our young people, particularly those at risk of long-term unemployment. 

“Getting involved with Kickstart is also a great chance for the tech sector to develop the next generation of talent.”

Young people have told The Big Issue the pandemic has hit them particularly hard, with some struggling to find work and feeling unsupported. 

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show an estimated 797,000 young people in the UK were not in education, employment or training between October and December last year. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak claimed ministers were “throwing absolutely everything” at the Kickstart scheme but there were reports it had got off to a bumpy start due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

According to data from the Department for Work and Pensions, almost 150,000 Kickstart roles have already been approved across the country, with roles spread across regions and sectors. 

With the help of Government funding, the tech sector is attempting to capitalise on the untapped potential of youth unemployment, advertising entry-level roles through apprenticeships, graduate schemes and internships. 

An Adzuna poll of 50 tech companies found 68 per cent planned to hire somewhere between one and ten young people in 2021, with 5 per cent of firms hoping to provide roles for at least 11 youngsters. 

Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said despite young people facing the most brutal job market for a generation, the Kickstart scheme was a chance for firms to plug the gaps in their workforce.

“Overall, three-fifths of the total fall in employment has been among those aged under 25, despite them only accounting for around a tenth of all of those in work,” Wilson said.

“There are also worrying signs of rising long-term youth unemployment, which is up by a third in the last year alone.

“The Kickstart scheme is a great opportunity for firms to help to do something about this, by creating new jobs for young people at risk of long-term unemployment.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey added: “Surging sectors like tech are bringing fresh opportunity and hope for our young jobseekers.

“Through the Kickstart Scheme, apprenticeships and traineeships, these companies are helping bring our Plan for Jobs to life, boosting the long-term job prospects of a generation that is capable of so much as we build back better.” 

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