How we’re helping young people across the UK to 'Reach Up' - Coca-Cola European Partners
GB Community Partnerships Manager, Holly Firmin, discusses how Coca-Cola European Partners is helping to tackle youth unemployment.
At Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), we believe every young person has the potential to thrive. We’re also committed to giving back to the communities we operate in. That’s why last year, we partnered with national charity, UK Youth, to deliver the Reach Up programme – to equip young people with the skills, experience and confidence needed to secure employment. It’s been a huge success, and we’re pleased to announce we’ll be expanding the programme to four new locations this year, as we help to transform the lives of 160 more young people.
With employment figures at their highest since the 1970s, it may surprise you to discover many young people still struggle to find a job. According to an impact report published by UK Youth in 2018, over 750,000 people aged 16-24 are not currently in employment, education or training (NEET), or are at risk of falling into this category. With this in mind, we worked with UK Youth to identify the barriers to employment many young people face today then designed our programme to deconstruct them, as we work to ready the participants for the world of work.
The course comprised of workshops delivered by youth workers and CCEP volunteers, networking masterclasses, and mock interviews. For many young people, the recruitment process can be an entirely new experience, and so we felt these formed an important introduction to the world of work. A lack of work experience is another common hinderance when young people look for a job. That’s why our CCEP volunteers showed them what it meant to spend a day in the life of a Field Sales representative and oversaw the running of their own Community Café – providing these young people with experiences to talk about in interviews.
The programme was a phenomenal success. Our aim was to raise the confidence of the participants, and we’re incredibly proud of the results. In fact, four out of five of the young participants (80%) reported an increase in confidence, and almost everyone (94%) left with the knowledge needed to find a job going forward.
It’s great to see the impact our hardworking volunteers have had on the lives of these young people, especially as our efforts are set to continue. We’ve committed to an ongoing partnership with UK Youth, investing a quarter of a million pounds in four subsequent Reach Up programmes. Targeting locations where youth unemployment is particularly high, Reach Up will soon be coming to North Kent, Stoke and Derby, Bristol and Glasgow – as we help to break down the barriers to employment young people face today.