With Responsible Business Week upon us, it’s a good time for all businesses to reflect on their contributions to a fairer society and a more sustainable future.
The term ‘responsible business’ encompasses a broad range of issues, but one of continued importance is how we can play our part in providing opportunities for Britain’s young people. The latest Labour Market statistics released last week, show there are currently 742,000 unemployed young people in the UK. These young people need help to make that crucial first step into the workplace.
The youth of today are the most critical resource for the UK’s ability to develop and compete globally and to create the skilled workers and business leaders of the future. For employers, not only is investing in the nation’s youth a huge benefit to society but it is a business imperative.
In 2013, a group of like-minded businesses set out a challenge to themselves: to ensure 5% of their workforce consisted of apprentices, graduates or sponsored students within a five year time frame.
At the time there were nearly a million young people out of work. This challenge evolved into a campaign called ‘The 5% Club’ and founding members QinetiQ, MBDA, Babcock, Renishaw, and Airbus paved the way for other British businesses committing to play a part in investing in the next generation.
The nationwide campaign has proven successful in attracting signatories from across a variety of sectors including engineering, retail and accountancy with the club’s biggest signing to date being the Ministry of Defence. Now with nearly 75 members, not only are the employers involved in the 5% Club campaign responsible for over 270,000 employees, but they have become a support network for businesses keen to provide opportunities for the next generation. Many 5% Club members met in Responsible Business Week to share best practice and discuss topics that challenge them.
Eighteen months after The 5% Club was launched, it is continuing to focus on encouraging other businesses to join. So for businesses reflecting on their responsibility to society and the UK’s economy in Responsible Business Week, please think about how you can invest in the next generation, not only to safeguard the future of thousands of young people but the future of the UK as well.
For more information about the free membership campaign and how to become a member, please visit www.5percentclub.org.uk or get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.