8 October 2013: A GROUP of the UK’s leading companies have today launched a major campaign calling on industry to adopt a new 5% target for graduates, apprentices and sponsored students in their organisations.
All public and private companies in the UK are being called on to Invest in a Generation – by joining The 5% Club. In becoming a member they will sign a charter aspiring to work towards 5% of their UK workforce over the next five years being young people on structured training schemes.
The industry-led campaign is being spearheaded by defence and security company QinetiQ. Other Companies and organisations already committed and signed up as founding members include the FTSE 100 company Babcock International, the UK arm of global giant EADS, WS Atkins, MBDA and Renishaw. The campaign is also endorsed and supported by both the CBI and the department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
With nearly one million 16-24 year-olds unemployed, and only one in ten young people joining an apprentice scheme when they leave school, the aim of the campaign is to address the twin scarcities of youth training opportunities and national skills - and in so doing boost the UK’s growth agenda. Members will be recognising that industry must do more to solve the skills shortage and not rely on Government to provide the solutions in isolation.
By becoming a member of The 5% Club, companies will publicly report progress on the 5% target in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) section of their Annual Report and Accounts or equivalent. It is believed this is the first time companies in the UK will have made the commitment to measure and report their performance against such a target.
Leo Quinn, CEO of QinetiQ Group, said: “Developing our young people is both a business and social imperative for industry – skills enhancement leads to innovation, innovation leads to growth, growth leads to prosperity. To help meet this challenge we are urging all of our colleagues in UK industry to join with us in this unique – but achievable - campaign.
“As business leaders, we are all aware of the chronic skills shortage which hampers us in world trade – including the dearth of new engineers and technicians who were historically the lifeblood of our growth and innovation. Yet with today’s 20%+ youth unemployment in the UK, we almost always talk in terms of the supply side, looking to the “push” from government and education for the solution to the conundrum. But it is industry that ultimately creates jobs; and we all know that what gets measured gets done.”
John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, said: “This is a crucial campaign. Top-quality training is the key to bridging the critical skills gaps in sectors which fuel growth and keep us globally competitive. Leading firms need to put their money where their mouth is and set a clear example for many more employers to follow. It’s time to build a world-class vocational system in the UK instead of looking on enviously at countries like Germany and the Far East.”
Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, “By working together Government and industry can give young people the opportunities to succeed and ensure we have the necessary skills for the global race. The Government is rising to the challenge with record numbers of apprenticeship starts and industry can do its bit through initiatives such as The 5% Club."
QinetiQ has set itself a goal of reaching the five per cent target by 2015. The 5% Club charter pledges members to:
- Play a part in addressing youth employment and skills shortage issues
- Pledge to work toward having a minimum 5% of their UK workforce enrolled on formalised apprentice, sponsored student and/or graduate development schemes within five years
- Report publicly every year on the above as a CSR metric in its Annual Report and Accounts or equivalent
- Be an ambassador of The 5% Club and encourage other businesses to participate in the campaign.
All current members are urging more public and private companies to follow suit and aim to update on progress using various platforms, including social media, as the campaign progresses.
Companies wishing to sign up to The 5% Club or would like more information can visit www.5percentclub.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for Editors
- The 5% Club is a campaign to get the UK’s public and private companies to commit to raising the number of apprentices, sponsored students and graduates on formal programmes to 5% of their total workforce within the next five years. The aim of the campaign is to tackle both the chronic skills shortage and youth unemployment in Britain and help the country remain at the forefront of innovation. It also asks member to publicly report their progress in their Annual Report.
- UK youth unemployment is currently just above 20%
- 400,000 graduates are coming onto the market each year
- A quarter of engineering graduates do not go into an engineering or technical career
- 2 out of 5 firms are struggling to recruit workers with advanced technical skills they need
- A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its domain knowledge to provide technical support and know-how to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ's unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments, intelligence services and security agencies.
- Follow QinetiQ on twitter @QinetiQ