Young worker’s challenge #3: lack of training opportunities
If you think about it, you’d expect younger workers to get more training than older workers – after all, they generally have less experience of work. While this is true for some young workers, Britain’s young core workers get the least training of anyone.
A TUC report has shown that nearly two-thirds of Britain’s young core workers hadn’t participated in or been offered training within three months of taking part in a survey. This trend is supported by evidence from elsewhere too…
One study interviewed young men working in retail. They consistently reported a lack of genuine training opportunities. Some had been given the chance to gain an NVQ in retail, but it turned out the course didn’t actually teach them anything – it just rubber-stamped what they already knew.
A big part of the problem is that Britain’s young core workers very often work in sectors with limited training opportunities anyway. For example, retail and care employers spend below average amounts of money on training each employee.
In general, the training offered at this end of the labour market is often to fulfil legal obligations such as health and safety training when a job starts. Training in these areas is rarely linked to opportunities for development and progression (leading on to further challenges – but that’s for another day).
At the root of it, employers seem unwilling to invest in young workers. Sometimes this is because they don’t think staff will stay in the jobs for long enough to be worth it. Retail is a classic example of a sector with high turnover of employees and low levels of training. This makes it so much harder for young core workers to get ahead at work.
It’s not like young people don’t want training. In fact it’s quite the opposite – research often shows it’s important to young people that they get more, better training.
So what role can unions play in getting Britain’s young core workers meaningful training?
Britain’s young core workers are the voices that are missing from our movement. They are aspirational, dynamic and want to be successful. But they are often trapped in low income work without the opportunity to progress or achieve what they want.
We’ve identified ten challenges facing Britain’s young core workers, and challenge unions to meet them. Check back here for the next challenge and read the full report.