Youth unemployment has remained stubbornly high this year with the number rising by 9,000 from February to April this year. The state of youth unemployment in the UK is beaten only by Spain and Greece, according to the OECD.
I used to work in graduate recruitment, placing candidates into companies, from larger organisation such as Accenture, Microsoft and MTV all the way through to smaller, more entrepreneurial organisations. During this time I have seen the success over and over again of companies home growing brilliant young talent and them going on to become the future business leaders.
An organisation can no longer rely on seeking talent from the same small pool as all their competitors. It is critical for a company to home grow their own talent to ensure there is a pipeline of great talent for the future to facilitate business growth.
One of the key reasons so many young people are out of work is the fear that many employers have that young people don’t have the right experience to take their company to the next level and they know they don’t have the time to coach and train. Young people are perceived as a risk as there are a lack of opportunities for young people to showcase their skills and talents. It’s the chicken and egg scenario with employers hesitant to employ people without experience and graduates not being given access to the experience to showcase their talents and improve their employability.
With nearly a million young people out of work, what can we do to help them become less of a risk to an employer? How can we ensure they have a place to show case their skills and gain critical exposure to enterprise to improve their employability and prevent a shortage of key skills and talent for the future?
The National student Apprentice is a nationwide competition where the brightest and most ambitious students from 40 top universities all compete in a format similar to the show, The Apprentice. It enables candidates to understand more about enterprise, showcase their abilities and talents and ultimately win the prize and recognition of the winners.
The competition sees candidates performing a series of tasks alongside local start-ups, SME’s and selected number of multinational corporations, and through practical tasks being exposed to sales, marketing, project management, team work, leadership and digital capabilities. The teams not only have to compete in all the challenges, they have to conduct sales pitches to high-impact businesses, create exciting marketing materials to showcase the products and consult entrepreneurs on real business problems, all while being grilled by critical founders, CEOs and MDs.
The National Student Apprentice was set up by recent graduates Stan Reinholds and Ella Jade Bitton, both former Presidents of Manchester Entrepreneurs and King’s College London Business Club respectively. According to Reinholds, the ambition was to create a platform for most ambitious students to excel. “Students in top universities want to be the best, and apart from academic achievements and internships there wasn’t much to satisfy the ambition. From our experience managing business minded student groups National Student Apprentice seemed like the perfect fit for the tens of thousands students across the UK willing to excel.”
Bitton goes on to say that, “The NSA was founded in order to support and inspire student entrepreneurs. It provides the greatest platform to create contacts and develop vital skills.”
The candidates from The National Student Apprentice now have something to speak and write about on their CVs. They can update their LinkedIn profile with interesting content and start networking with influential decision makers in their chosen profession with a lot more confidence and ease. In short, they become employable.
If you are interested in learning more or sponsoring The National student apprentice, please visit www.nationalstudentapprentice.com.
Watch the finale here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMBIFZJdeCc
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