This afternoon The Youth Group’s Founder and UK’s Chief Youth Officer Jack Parsons appeared live on the BBC News channel alongside Kike Oniwinde, Founder and CEO of Black Young Professionals Network, to discuss the employment landscape for young people during the pandemic and answer questions from young people struggling to find work. 

Question one asked if Jack thought finding work in the pandemic was a “minefield.” “Absolutely.” Jack quipped. “The current employment landscape is a nightmare for young people. There’s some great opportunities out there, but how do young people access them? That’s the big question that young people have: how do I access opportunities, where are they, and who’s offering them.” 

Jack noted that there have been some unexpected benefits to the rise in remote working brought about by the pandemic: “Wherever you are, you can be a national citizen. You can be based in Newcastle, apply for a work experience opportunity or internship in London, and do it from home.” 

 

 

The second question concerned one of the biggest frustrations facing young people looking for a job: not even getting a reply to your application. Jack remarked: “This is one thing that needs to change. Companies need to invest in giving feedback, otherwise how is a young person supposed to grow? How do you know if you’re applying right, how do you know your CV is right if you’re not given the opportunity with feedback?”

When asked what advice Jack would give to a university student struggling to find a work placement due to a lack of places, advice, and responses, Jack responded with a bombshell: “I would firstly say rip up the CV and don’t send the CV in, because you have to be different.”

Expanding on this game-changing proposition, Jack explained what innovative things young people should do instead: “All you need to do is flip that duvet and show why you’re the right person for the job. Put a video showcase in, reach out to someone. If you can’t get in through the recruitment team, have a mentoring session. Ask someone in that organisation: ‘What’s it like to work here, and how do I get to your organisation?’ Reach out and ask questions, reach out to people already in the network. That’s how you get in the door.”

We’re putting forward daring new ideas and making bold moves because the status quo isn’t working for young people. Young people deserve to be given the opportunity to build their showcase and present it to employers who listen, care, and give meaningful feedback regardless of the outcome. Are you ready to change the world? 

Jack can be found on Twitter @JacksonRParsons.