They made me feel my dreams are important

Last month, 120 students from six London-based schools and colleges attended Skills Build training sessions with Citizens UK’s Good Jobs Campaign team at J.P. Morgan’s offices in Blackfriars.

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Student feedback about Good Jobs Campaign Skills Build workshops - October 2017

The engineering, health and creative industries are facing an ever-increasing skills gap - the engineering sector alone needs to recruit over 1 million new people by 2020. Meanwhile, Citizens UK’s young people face barriers to accessing these good job opportunities. Without the right connections, they struggle to find work experience, or to develop the professional skills that meaningful interactions with employers can bring them. That is why we connect employers with schools and colleges, to help students forge these vital connections, and develop their skills.

Volunteers from J.P. Morgan supported the students in the Skills Build workshops, giving a valuable perspective from the professional world and some real-life examples of best – and worst – practice in the work place. The students took part in a range of interactive activities around communication and teamwork skills, and worked on personal development plans. We all have dreams – big and small – and it was inspiring to hear what dreams the Good Jobs Campaign students are setting their sights on. We heard all sort of exciting and ambitious goals and worked on the plans needed to achieve them. The goals ranged from passing exams, to getting an apprenticeship, to becoming CEO, business-owner, and millionaire. The sky’s the limit.

While we want our young people to think about their aspirations, and the steps they can personally take to get there – as a society we all have a responsibility to create a climate which enables young people to achieve their goals. The students we work with have the skills and talent they need to go far and are capable of thriving given the right support. But they also face enormous barriers of access to good job opportunities – jobs that provide good training, room for progression, and a real Living Wage.

Today, only one in eight children from low-income backgrounds is likely to become high-income earner as an adult (Social Mobility Commission, 2016) and those under the age of 25 are excluded from the government’s National Living Wage. Participation in the Good Jobs Campaign programmes will play a part in reducing these barriers for some young people – but as a society, we still have a long way to go to bridge the opportunity gap.


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