Make a difference, join Movement to Work

There are 850,000 unfilled vacancies in the UK economy. It’s time we got better at matching them with untapped potential of young talent

If you’re reading CBI Business Voice the chances are that, like me, you’ve got a job. Who knows, you might even enjoy it… most of the time at least.

Until recently my job was leading a team at Diageo, responsible for spotting global trends in what people will be drinking in the future and investing in small start-up brands with big growth potential. I really loved that job. It was challenging, interesting, exciting. A dream job in many ways.

But when Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes asked me to take on a two-year secondment running Movement to Work it made me stop and think about my own job and more importantly about what work – or more importantly the lack of work – means for hundreds of thousands of young unemployed people in the UK.

Creating opportunities

Movement to Work exists to create opportunities for young unemployed people to get into work – targeting the young people who fall between the cracks of the established education and skills systems. It’s a voluntary coalition of the UK’s most progressive companies – members include the likes of Accenture, BAE Systems, BT, Centrica, Diageo and M&S – that are committed to tackling youth unemployment by offering quality work placements.

And it has achieved a lot since launching in 2014. More than 250 companies have contributed, delivering more than 67,000 work placements with 54 per cent of those young people going on to jobs of further training. Tens of thousands of young lives have been positively transformed by the efforts of Movement to Work employers.

Along with the other members, Diageo is committed to this agenda as a company and Ivan has shown his personal leadership by taking over as chairman of the Movement last year.

So, I’ve left behind the future of drinks and for the next two years at least I will be focusing on the future job prospects of the 790,000 young people in the UK who are not in education, employment or training. Instead of investing in untapped brands with great potential I’ll be investing all my energy in creating future growth opportunities for young people.

It’s a massive task, but I’ve never felt so excited and motivated by a challenge. Partly this is a personal sense of purpose, driven by the once in a lifetime opportunity to make a real and meaningful difference. But I’ve also been inspired by the commitment of the companies involved in the Movement.

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