The new Chair of sport for employment charity, Street League, has warned how “challenging” the job market is likely to become for young people because of the economic downturn which is set to follow the Covid-19 pandemic.
Youth unemployment has already risen far more quickly than during the last three recessions, according to the Institute for Employment Studies, and The Resolution Foundation predicts that 1.3million young people will be unemployed in 2020, meaning 27% youth unemployment). That will exceed crisis levels of youth unemployment in 2011.
It means that demand is set to rise for Street League’s academy programme, which works with young people aged 14 to 30 who face socio-economic barriers and supports them into sustained employment, education and training.
The award-winning programme helps them develop key employability skills such as teamwork and communication, and undergo CV-writing and mock interview sessions with real employers, as well as taking part in physical activity every day.
And the charity’s new Chair – John Coleman, who is the Chairman of the major care home business Barchester Healthcare Ltd – believes it is this type of “co-ordinated work” between the private and charity sectors which will be vital in helping to stimulate an economic recovery.
John, who replaces Mike Parker who led Street League’s Board of trustees for nearly a decade, said: “I am well aware of how challenging the job market is going to be for young people and employers in the months and years to come.
“Street League’s services are, and will continue to be critical for young people to ensure they can achieve their full potential and are not left behind by the economic crisis.
“Support like that provided by Street League will be essential to making sure those opportunities work for young people and business. Street League gives in-work support to young people and their employer, which is an innovative way to meet business needs like retaining and training staff while achieving social impact.”
He added: “This type of co-ordinated work between the private and charity sectors will be vital to the economic recovery, limiting damage to young people’s careers, and future earnings.”
John has been Chair of several companies, including Bonmarché Holdings, Aga Rangemaster, and McBride plc, and was CEO of House of Fraser between 1996 and 2006.
He said: “I am delighted to be joining Street League at such a pivotal point in its journey and feel passionately about the need for youth employability services. I believe in the power of sport and have been impressed by Street League’s innovative and effective approach to tackling poverty in Scotland and England’s most disadvantaged communities.
“Street League’s support is about much more than finding a job. The frontline staff build young people’s confidence, create connections and support their overall wellbeing. I look forward to joining the team and getting started on this vital work at such an important time.”
Street League’s Managing Director Dougie Stevenson said: “We are delighted to have someone of John’s calibre and experience to lead our Board of trustees.
“Off the back of a very successful 2019-20, which saw our best financial performance, Street League is in a strong position to tackle the rising youth unemployment levels that we are currently witnessing. John’s business leadership and governance experience will add tremendous value to Street League.”