Christians Against Poverty is urging Christians to “pray for people to not give up hope” following a report on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on youth unemployment.
The new research by The Prince’s Trust and the Learning and Work Institute has revealed that under 25s accounted for three in five job losses during the pandemic.
Speaking to Premier, Colin Campbell, a job club manager for Christians Against Poverty in Greenock, said he has seen many graduates come in looking for help during the last year.
“We've seen…people being hit by furlough, and also graduates who have been preparing for going into an employment sphere finishing their courses being hit by delays. And then once they are graduated, they are just left at sea because of the pandemic, with their employment opportunities seeming to have dried up,” Campbell said.
The research also highlights that 34 per cent of young people with no qualifications have experienced a reduction in hours compared to just seven percent of those who hold a degree level qualification. A reduction in demand for workers who lack higher level qualifications is also expected.
According to the research, young people will miss out on the post-pandemic recovery and their unemployment could cost the UK almost £7bn.
Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said: "If we are to tackle the looming youth jobs crisis, the Learning and Work Institute believes the Government must work with partners to urgently roll-out a ‘Youth Guarantee’ to support young people to access a job, an apprenticeship, education, or a high-quality training opportunity.”
For Campbell, the government schemes have helped but “there’s always more that needs to be done”.
“It's great that the Government has been doing stuff like the Kickstart scheme, where they're able to [encourage] businesses to offer paid placements for six months,” he said.
“But businesses need encouragement and support and resources to be able to be hosting those placements,” Campbell continued.
Asked about how Christians can help tackle this issue, Campbell said: “There's huge opportunities for churches and Christians who have talents and skills that can be put to use in their community to start a group like a job club and get involved in helping with this provision.”
Campbell continued: “I think we need to be praying for people to have hope.”
“It can be such a daunting thing to be faced with difficult employment prospects…We know that when people come into our job club, the main thing they're needing help with is confidence. We need to be praying for people to not give up hope before they've got some help and support and reach out and get that support,” he concluded.