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It’s good business to educate young people about the world of work

Moira Horgan

Head of Marketing, Business in the Community, Ireland

Businesses that have young people in work are opening up an important new pipeline of diverse talent.

Evidence shows that a diverse workforce is more productive and performs better financially. But there’s another compelling reason why companies need to create and nurture a pipeline of diverse talent. Customers are more multicultural — so businesses need their workforces to reflect that reality.

‘Diversity and inclusion’ isn’t just about culture or gender. It’s also about bringing in people from different backgrounds and levelling the playing field for everyone. Companies are fighting for talent so. Therefore, to ensure we are able to build capacity in business, we have to create a ‘non-traditional’ talent pipeline.

Demystifying the young people in work

Partnering schools with businesses is a way to do this and, to date, our organisation has matched hundreds of schools with businesses all over Ireland. The result can be, for example, company visits, placements and mentoring programmes that give primary and post-primary level young people a view of what it’s really like to be in the workplace. It opens up their horizons and demystifies the world of work, especially if they come from families that aren’t in employment.

Before they go through the doors of a business, young people in work may have preconceptions about it. Yet when they’re there, they think: ‘Wow… I can do this, too!‘ or ‘I want to work here.’ It’s beneficial for them — and for the companies who have discovered a potential new talent pool.

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