What job opportunities are there for young people in the UK?

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Young people looking for an entry-level job have been dealt a particularly bad hand by the pandemic, with many sectors that traditionally take on lots of school and university leavers – such as hospitality, leisure and retail – facing the toughest restrictions. But there are some slivers of good news.

Sectors and companies that are hiring young people

A wide range of companies and organisations, from Greater Manchester police to the HS2 rail project, have been recruiting young people or plan to do so.

The recently launched #10000BlackInterns programme aims to transform the prospects of young black people in the UK. It will offer paid work experience across a range of sectors, from media and broadcasting to law, and the plan is that applications for the summer 2022 programme will open in July this year.

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The BT Group this week announced plans to recruit 229 apprentices and 199 graduates for its September 2021 intake. It will be recruiting across areas ranging from customer service to cybersecurity. Thames Water has announced plans to recruit more than 1,000 people this year, and said it planned to triple the number of apprenticeship opportunities it offered by the end of 2025.

Meanwhile, BAE Systems is hiring more than 1,250 trainees this year – made up of 850-plus apprenticeships and 400 graduate roles. Opportunities are available in roles ranging from software development to joinery. And in November, Jaguar Land Rover said it was looking for up to 300 new apprentices, undergraduates and graduates to join the business in September 2021. Some apprenticeship opportunities were still available at the time of writing.

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The government is offering bursaries and scholarships for teacher training in certain subjects, including chemistry and computing. For 2021-22, up to £26,000 of financial help is available to individuals.

In August, ministers announced new funding designed to enable healthcare employers in England to take on up to 2,000 nursing apprentices a year over the next four years.

Other government schemes and official support

The government this week claimed its £2bn “kickstart” programme, which was launched in September and aims to create thousands of new jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds, had created more than 120,000 jobs so far. Employers can offer six-month work placements, funded by the government, to young people claiming universal credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

The government’s Find a job website lets people search and apply for full- and part-time jobs in England, Scotland and Wales. There is a separate site for Northern Ireland.

Free courses to build skills

The Prince’s Trust is offering free courses for 18- to 30-year-olds looking to work in health and social care. You will find out about live vacancies in your area and be guaranteed at least one interview.

Several universities including Oxford and Edinburgh run free online courses that can help young people gain a new skill or interest.

From April the government is offering almost 400 free courses, ranging from conservation to accountancy, designed to help people of all ages gain in-demand skills.