Youth unemployment and our approach to help

Written by Ian Walker, Project Manager – Employment & Skills, ELBA

On leaving education, a person’s mind instantly travels towards the excitement of employment, the wonders of a career path which may already be mapped out in one’s mind or, as is often the case, still in the exploration phase. But what does a young person do when the jobs aren’t there? What are the next steps when suddenly the world experiences a global pandemic which halts the job market?

When we break down the statistics and look at what has happened over the last 18 months it’s quite alarming to see the impact on youth employment. Comparing the latest quarter, February-April 2021, with the pre-pandemic quarter of January-March 2020:

  • The number of young people in employment has fallen by 311,000, an 8% fall. The fall for men has been larger, with employment levels falling by 10% for men and by 6% for women.
  • 263,000 more young people have become economically inactive, an increase of 10%.

As at 30 April 2021, 594,100 jobs held by those aged 24 or under were on furlough, which is 16% of eligible jobs. This was a decrease of 196,100 from the number of furloughed jobs held by young people at the end of March 2021 (House of Commons Library 2021).

ELBA’s Edge project is aimed at helping people aged 16-24 find their feet and gain access to a work place programme and together with the help of Canary Wharf Group, we have put together an amazing summer internship scheme placing candidates into 10 different areas of the Canary Wharf Group ranging from business support in their construction division through to Finance, CSR, People & Development and IT.

So, why are we doing this and what impact is it having? Perhaps some words from Canary Wharf Group themselves will help answer that question:

A lot of young people missed out on work experience last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, so when we were approached by ELBA to support local young people with a summer internship programme we were thrilled to collaborate.

 By giving these young people a chance to work alongside us helps them learn new transferable skills that they can take with them and improve on for their future careers. We believe it’s important to invest our time and efforts into these young people as they are our future workforce, we want to boost their confidence, raise their career aspirations and allow them to thrive and gain experience in an environment they may not be used to at their young age. It’ll hopefully give them new skills and experience to stand out from future competition.

Our offices are clean and safe, we have implemented social distancing and enhanced cleaning throughout and look forward to welcoming our interns this summer.

– Julie Dang – CSR Programme Co-Ordinator, Canary Wharf Group

Unemployment in London is most prevalent amongst those aged between 16 and 24, with 17.6% of this group being unemployed in 2020. This compares to just 4.7% of those aged between 25 and 64.

Through the internship, we not only hope to support those who are unemployed, but we can also see great benefits for the corporates themselves; recent graduates often bring fresh and innovative ideas

ELBA’s aim and hope is that having more companies like Canary Wharf Group getting involved to help tackle these startling statistics, the future really will start to look bright for our talented youth after what has been a very dark 18 months.

If you feel your company may be in a position to consider taking someone on in a mostly funded 6 month work placement or a fully funded 4 week work placement, please do get in touch with Ian and Christine who are the Project Managers involved: and

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