COLUMN: Together, businesses can ensure this generation thrives

This column is provided by Heidi Thompson, head of HR and payroll at Duncan & Toplis.

Heidi Thompson, head of HR and payroll at Duncan & Toplis.
Heidi Thompson, head of HR and payroll at Duncan & Toplis.

With a well-reported labour shortage across all sectors and reports that the growth in job vacancies has slipped to an 18-month low, it’s the responsibility of every recruiter to make sure that the skilled workers – and leaders – of the future continue to be trained, supported and helped up the career ladder.

At Duncan & Toplis, we’re excited to be launching our popular training programme for our 2023 intake.

For us, it’s important to offer talented young people a viable career pathway, regardless of the wider economic position of the country.

The 2022 cohort of trainees at Duncan & Toplis.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007-08, a generation of graduates found themselves having to fight for an inadequate number of suitable jobs. Inevitably, this led to higher unemployment, lower pay and worse job prospects for up to a decade later – we mustn’t let this generation of young people become Britain’s next ‘crisis cohort’.

We all know the reasons for the current economic situation in the UK. A combination of Brexit, the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a perfect storm of uncertainty, and it’s understandable that businesses are reacting with caution. However, not only are external economic factors affecting career prospects damaging to the economy, but it is grossly unfair to the young people themselves.

We cannot let these talented young people see their prospects falter due to external factors like politics, pandemics and wars.

It’s up to businesses like Duncan & Toplis to lead the way and show that offering opportunities to young people is the way forward.

We have seen first hand the impact that our yearly graduate positions have on individuals. Many professionals who joined us through our training scheme have gone on to become senior leaders, both with our company and elsewhere.

Our graduate training programme offers personal development, leadership training and a focus on technical skills, with a clear pathway to management positions. We also offer a beginner training pathway for young people who don’t feel that university is right for them.

For us, offering opportunities to young people is something that we will continue to do, and we would encourage businesses who can afford it to do the same. Together, we can ensure this generation thrives.