Voices: Let’s get to work – join our £1m campaign to help the young jobless

Dear Readers,

There is no doubt that it is the young who have borne the brunt of the pandemic. They had the least health risk but sacrificed the most in terms of interrupted schooling, remote learning, lost socialising and cuts to mental health services, blighting their chances to acquire key skills and precious life experiences.

Last week our joint investigation with the Evening Standard revealed another stark cost – more than one in five young Londoners seeking work find themselves jobless, a rate six times higher than the national all-ages rate. This comes despite record vacancies of 1.2 million countrywide. As we revealed, it points to a gaping mismatch and a massive missed opportunity which the government’s Kickstart Scheme has manifestly failed to address.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Click here to make a donation and help us give more young people the training they need to get into work

In the great tradition of this newspaper, we seek not only to identify the problem but to be part of the solution. That is why I am proud to announce the launch of our new Christmas appeal.

Skill Up Step Up will help disadvantaged youth get on to that all-important first rung of the ladder. We are partnering with Barclays who have given us £1m to provide grants to a select group of charities that will offer employability training to make jobless young people work ready.

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We are calling on employers to step up to the plate with job or apprenticeship offers, and we are asking, you, our readers, to donate what you can.

As we negotiate the twists and turns of this pandemic, we must make sure that nobody is left behind. We can’t let Britain’s disadvantaged youth fall through the cracks. They have so much to offer. I am sure you will step up and help them to skill up. I have no doubt that it will transform their lives.



Lord Lebedev is a major shareholder in The Independent


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