Tackling Youth Employment – One Magical Day and its Impact
Tackling Youth Employment

In the throes of the economic shock caused by the Covid-19 crisis, the annual fall in employment in the UK is now the highest in a decade. Work changes lives, and young people, and the importance of hope, opportunity and the dignity that employment confers are in supreme focus.

In the aftermath of the riots in London of 2011 AON participated in a pathbreaking recruitment program that targeted unemployed youth in the Croydon area. As described by Stuart Heatley, then of AON, the recruitment program was “about tapping in to a pool of potential that conventionally employers wouldn’t look at.” It was a return to recruitment by talent and not by numbers… to overcome the near focus on “numbers” such as A-levels, degree quality and other conventional metrics. The CV-less recruitment process, held in conjunction with Croydon’s job centre, had an overwhelming response leading to AON increasing the number of candidates from 10 to 15, but based on the “talent in the room” they would have liked to increase it even further.

Suzanne Taylor, who managed the recruitment program, enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the candidates for longer than an hour as part of the process, to really understand what contribution could be made and give “real insights into the talent” and to “get to see what an individual would bring to a business” which may not be possible during a traditional interview process. Derek Browne of Entrepreneurs in action designed the program, and described the recruitment day as a “magical day” that revealed all that was right in young people, their hunger to work and to drive their lives forward. The business leaders described the process as “one of the most interesting and rewarding things” of their careers, and one found it “emotional to see what young people had to give.” We hear from a young candidate who came from a “bad place” but ultimately found an employer that provided more than just a job – instead it provided a place to grow. He discusses the impact that that recruitment program had on the direction of his life.

This episode was generously sponsored by the International Business of Federated Hermes.