MTW CEO: Let’s forge a brighter future for our young people

Over the bank holiday weekend, I took time to reflect on what was an eventful previous week. We had the announcement of the general election, now just 5 weeks away on 4th July, a wave of election pledges, and the release of some very stark labour market statistics.

As the CEO of Movement to Work, a charity that has spent over a decade tackling youth unemployment, it became clear that we find ourselves in the midst of a polycrisis and I have a responsibility to shout loud for the young people of our nation at this time.

The landscape

The portion of young people furthest from the workplace is growing. The number of NEET (not in education, employment, or training) young people aged 16 to 24 rose to 900,000 from 812,000 a year ago (January to March 2024). The number of economically inactive (not in or looking for work) young people has increased by 297,000 to 3 million, near the highest level since 1992.

The number of opportunities is dropping. Overall, UK vacancies decreased by 26,000 from the previous quarter to 898,000 (February to April 2024), the 22nd consecutive quarterly decline.

Young people are experiencing the most significant challenges. Reflecting on 15 years of data, The Prince’s Trust Youth Index has shown that young people’s happiness and confidence in their mental health is at an all-time low, and one in five (21%) young people in the UK have missed school or work in the past year due to their mental health. We focus on building accessible programmes that not only improve employability but also consider wellbeing and wraparound support, so that young people have the best chance of success.

Overall, the UK Claimant Count for April 2024 rose by 8,900 from the previous month and by 29,300 from the previous year, reaching 1.58 million. Imagine what we could do if we were able to help people off benefits and into contributing to an economy where they can truly thrive.

The future of a country is measured by its young people, and it is clear they need us more than ever. I am calling on the existing and forthcoming government to work with me and my organisation to save a generation.

How we can help

  • Founded by business leaders, Movement to Work has the ability to convene, facilitate and catalyse action through and with employers. Work with us to shape policies that will unlock the potential of business to engage with young people in ways that matter most.
  • We can help put young people at the centre of skills shortages, new industries and NetZero ambitions. We know how to design and deliver programmes that will help train young people with the existing and future skills they need to succeed, helping to embolden the UK workforce with fresh talent and ideas.
  • Alongside businesses, we collaborate with government departments and youth and training professionals to ensure our strategies make sense. We have a ten-year track record of forging quality partnerships that have helped to deliver over 180,000 youth opportunities with over 89% leading to positive outcomes.
  • We offer 100% free support to businesses; all we ask in return is that you join our mission and offer quality opportunities for young people aged 16-30.

What businesses have told us about investing in youth employment strategies: 

  • Diverse ideas, people and skills
  • Stronger talent pipeline
  • Fresh energy and enthusiasm
  • Meaningfully delivering on Corporate Social Responsibility

So, reach out to us today and find out more about what we do. Movement to Work is offering its unrelenting support to any government and any business that is ready to invest in young people and build a fairer society.

As one young programme graduate said, “When you help me, you help those who come after me”. Together, we can unleash so much untapped potential and safeguard our collective futures.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to working with you.

Sareena Bains

CEO, Movement to Work

Connect with Sareena on LinkedIn