Thirty thousand school pupils hook up with global firms to tackle youth unemployment


Over 30,000 young people will be offered employment advice, apprenticeships, and work experience by major global institutions including the BBC, PwC, Vodafone, and the NHS, at the London Careers Festival this week.

 The City of London Corporation, which runs the free annual event, aims to use the Festival to inspire the capital’s primary and secondary pupils, and guide them into successful careers.

 The event comes as UK figures reveal 481,000 young people aged 16 to 24 were without a job in October to December 2023, with the national unemployment rate for the same group standing at 11.6%.

The City Corporation, which is the governing body of the Square Mile – the world’s leading international financial centre - says employers are telling them that ‘fusion skills’, which include a range of typically ‘non-technical’ skills, like oral communication, creativity, organising, flexibility, resilience, and critical thinking - are fundamental to the world of work.

 Fusion skills provide a focus of the Festival this year, with 22 firms delivering workshops and practical demonstrations, including those from the tech sector, creative industries, architecture, entrepreneurship, and enterprise.

When assessing the suitability of a job applicant for a new role, companies often need to balance a candidate’s job-specific technical skills and experience against other factors, such as their ability to work effectively in teams, communicate with others, and solve problems. These are now considered by employers to be critically important attributes both in the current labour market and for the future of work.

 The Festival will run over two weeks, from 26 February – 8 March, at the City Corporation’s historic Guildhall headquarters, and other Square Mile venues, and through virtual sessions. It will include tailored workshops for young people with special needs and disabilities, and bespoke sessions for those who are care leavers or known to a social worker.

 Chair of the City Corporation’s London Careers Festival, Naresh Sonpar, said:

 “Whilst the UK has made significant steps in the right direction, there is still a lack of opportunity for people from less advantaged backgrounds, who can struggle to find a place within the workforce or climb the careers ladder.

 “As a society we need to do more to boost social mobility. We must encourage, support, and resource our young people, and create a competitive and inclusive economy that delivers lasting value for London and the UK.

 “We need a diverse and resilient future workforce, so our businesses can compete globally. The London Careers Festival helps to do just that – and provide the capital’s firms with access to the large untapped talent pool that is critical for future growth.”

Group Environmental Advisor at Keltbray, Maya Kana, said:

 “As a proud participant in the London Careers Festival, Keltbray recognises the importance of nurturing the talent of the next generation of industry leaders.

“Engaging with the London Careers Festival will support in shaping the careers of aspiring individuals, contributing to the growth of our industry, and building a sustainable future together.”

 Enrichment and Work Experience Coordinator of Oasis Academy Hadley, Kitty Man Hin Yim, Career, said:

“At Oasis Academy Hadley, we consider careers education to be a pivotal component of enrichment, designed to actively engage students, educators, and our extensive network of stakeholders.

“We are committed to developing a robust career programme that effectively caters to the needs of 21st-century learners.

“Through strategic partnerships with the London Careers Festival, we can provide exceptional opportunities that foster student aspirations, empowering them to embark on their journey towards crafting the future they envisage.”

The London Careers Festival is just one way the City Corporation is boosting the career opportunities of people from all backgrounds, as part of its Social Mobility Strategy.

The City Corporation has over 180 people currently placed in a diverse range of jobs across its departments as apprentices. It has supported the career development of more than 538 people – including its own staff - through apprenticeship placements since 2017.

It sponsors 10 high-performing academies across Hackney, Newham, Islington, and Southwark, through the City of London Academies Trust.

And it is the sole trustee of City Bridge Foundation, which maintains five London bridges - including the iconic Tower Bridge - at no cost to the taxpayer, and awards grants of over £30 million a year to charities across the capital.

The City Corporation is a founding partner of the Social Mobility Employer Index, a national league table of organisations which works to attract and progress talent from a wide range of backgrounds, and of Progress Together, a membership body which aims to drive socio-economic diversity at senior levels across the UK’s financial services sector.

It also funds Heart of the City, a charity working with SMEs to develop their responsible business programmes through workshops, mentoring, online resources, and a network of likeminded companies.

For further information about the London Careers Festival, click here.