The EY Foundation, an independent charity, working directly with young people, employers and social entrepreneurs to create or support pathways to education, employment or enterprise has been looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the future of young people from low income backgrounds and launched a new online support scheme.
The EY Foundation worked together with its Youth Advisory Board to create the digital space to replace its usual face to face support - with mental health, exams and job prospects top of the list of concerns. Online content including employer webinars, career advice, interview skills and life at university will be made available to help young people navigate the crisis.
This initative is important to help young people who otherwise might be feeling isolated and anxious, and give them a platform to share their concerns and access information and advice about their future work and career options. potential impact of Covid-19 on recruitment and job prospects for years to come.
Ahead of the new digital offer, young people who were due to attend an EY Foundation programme, or had recently completed one, were surveyed to better understand their concerns and needs at this time. 46 per cent of the 67 survey respondents said they were most concerned about the impact on their exams and schooling, with many mentioning their worries about exam grades, reduced teacher time and the struggle to stay motivated and focused to learn in their home environment.
22 per cent of young people were worried about their work experience placements and extra-curricular opportunities being cancelled following a lot of hard work put into applications, and the knock-on effects of this on personal statements.
There were also wider concerns around their health and the health of their families, financial stability, general wellbeing and the implications on the wider economy and job market. Overall, there is a fear of not being able to achieve their full potential or access the best opportunities.
EY Foundation Chief Executive of the EY Foundation, Maryanne Matthews said:
"This crisis will have a disproportionate impact on young people and their prospects in the future. The unprecedented scale of this crisis and the absence of face-to-face contact means young people need a platform for their voice to be heard.
"In response to our research, we are working with our Youth Advisory Board and other young people to co-design online content to help address work-related concerns, so it is a real joint effort, in which young people are very much involved.
"Central to our approach will be to harness our experience of bringing young people and employers together. From employer discussion webinars to top tip videos, we will continue to give young people opportunities to develop their employability skills. It also gives employers the chance to engage and work with the next generation of young talent.
"We recognise too the power of collaboration and see the potential for joint working with other organisations in the sector as this project develops. If you are an employer, young person or charity who would like to get involved, please get in touch, it would be great to hear from you.