Through a new employability programme, ‘Hatch’, developed and delivered with leading youth charity UK Youth, KFC aims to help more young people access employment, specifically those who have been excluded from employment and training opportunities.
‘Hatch’ will help some 6,000 young people across the UK build their work skills, confidence and get their first job, through a tailored programme of 1-2-1 training, youth work, and practical work experience, with an interview at KFC on graduating from the programme.
While the number of job vacancies in the UK economy remain at record high levels, with sectors like hospitality reporting in excess of 500,000 vacancies, investment in young people’s skills and path into work is not keeping pace with the demand for workers.
Despite the positive contribution young people could bring to the workforce, a new report from UK Youth and KFC, has found that a significant lack of investment in young people’s work skills and confidence, and a growing “generation gap” between young people and employers, is fuelling the current labour and skills shortage.
KFC and UK Youth are calling on businesses and Government to give the next generation the practical tools and support they need to enter and thrive in the workplace, through programmes like Hatch.
Chronic under investment in young people
The Hatching a plan report found that despite nine in 10 (87%) employers saying it is important to them to foster young talent, employers aren’t currently investing in young people.
Practical work experience or on-the-job training (42%) is what young people say they need most from employers, but a third (37%) of employers don’t currently offer work experience opportunities to young people. That’s despite half (55%) of employers ranking practical work experience as the primary consideration when hiring.
More concerning is the finding that as many as one than one in ten (11%) employers don’t offer any support or training to young employees.
A lack of time (26%) and money (23%) were the top reasons given for not helping young people develop their work skills.
However, the research found that those businesses that invest in developing young people’s skills are likely to reap rewards in the long term, with four in five (79%) young people saying they would be more likely to choose to work for an employer who invested in developing young people’s skills; a serious consideration for businesses suffering from labour shortages.
Meghan Farren, General Manager at KFC UK&I, commented: “There are more job vacancies across Britain than unemployed people – a first since records began – but the need to foster young talent and invest in their skills and development over the long term continues to be overlooked.
“If we’re to tackle the labour shortage and provide better jobs and economic growth across the country for the next generation, then we urgently need to help young who have been excluded from education and training opportunities to find their feet and their voice in the workplace. Helping the next generation is an investment in the future of our businesses. That starts with employers, like us, investing in programmes like Hatch that support and empower young people, whatever their background. But we can’t make that change alone, we need Government to give the next generation the tools and support they need if we’re to truly unlock the potential of today’s young people.”
Hatching a plan for young people
In response, KFC and UK Youth are calling for focused investment from businesses and government to give the next generation the practical tools and support they need to enter and thrive in the workplace. A new action plan published by KFC and UK Youth is calling for:
A PROPER PLAN FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
We need a system that creates more ways into work for young people who face barriers in their life; providing the right support, equipping them with the right skills, and ensuring they can thrive in the workplace.
This can be delivered through:
- Post 16-education and apprenticeship policy designed to provide young people with the skills businesses need.
- A government funded HATCH scheme, designed with businesses to give young people in-work training and job opportunities.
- A cross-government strategy to join up young people with local jobs.
- Tax incentives for businesses to invest in skills development for young employees.
Maddie Dinwoodie, Chief Programme Officer, UK Youth: “The pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis are having a huge impact on the employment prospects of this generation of young people, despite the record numbers of job vacancies. Unlocking talent and supporting all young people into work has to be a priority, particularly people who are unemployed or underemployed.
“At UK Youth we want to unlock youth work for all young people. Youth work is essential for helping young people navigate these uncertain times. It can be life changing, and even lifesaving. Youth work gives young people the tools they need to support their own personal development, to manage their wellbeing, increase their self-confidence, create connections and build trust with others in their community.
“We are enormously proud of our Hatch partnership with KFC, which is connecting young people to youth workers to be the essential trusted adult in a young person’s employability journey. The youth workers support them through the programme and paid work experience building essential skills for employment as well the transition into work.
“By supporting youth work, like KFC, employers can empower young people to discover new skills and opportunities that can change their lives, there is never a more important time to invest in our young people they are our future leaders and the changemakers of tomorrow.”
Commenting on the programme Liam, 17-year-old from Manchester and recent graduate of the Hatch programme said: “I have always really struggled with social interaction. It has been something that has made me apprehensive and scared of seeking employment. However, I found hands-on training really helped build my confidence in my own ability and learn in a way that helped me feel calm and comfortable.
“In previous jobs I was constantly worried about doing something wrong, which led to so much self-doubt which really held me back. For me to feel comfortable and able to work, people being welcoming and encouraging from the start is so important. And, having structure and a positive environment really helps too. The Hatch training programme gave me just that, helping me build resilience, a newfound confidence and an ability to enjoy my job and all the social interaction that comes with it.”
Hatch was piloted in Manchester with over 80 young people, half of those who completed have found full time employment as a result. The programme will be scaled up in 2023 to 500 young people, recruited into KFC locations across the UK. By 2030, KFC aims for a third of all new hires to the business to be through the Hatch programme.