Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Campaign to boost youth employment launched as new research shows 48 per cent of young Scots feel the pandemic has harmed their long-term career prospects

One Million Chances campaign aims to help undo the damage done to young people’s career prospects due to Covid and address staff shortages blighting many businesses

With young Scots receiving this year’s exam results set to enter the toughest labour market for a generation, the CIPD is today launching its One Million Chances campaign.  

It aims to get employers to create a million opportunities for young people (aged 16 – 30) – be it through jobs, internships, work experience, apprenticeships, Kickstart or by signing up to the Young Person’s Guarantee – to help undo the damage done by Covid. Openreach, Tesco and Dorchester Collections are just some of the UK’s major companies that have already pledged their support. 

New research from the CIPD found that nearly half of all 18–30-year-olds in Scotland (48%) feel the pandemic has harmed their long-term career prospects – and almost two-thirds (64%) say the pandemic has made their mental health worse.  

Across the UK, CIPD’s survey finds that 50% of young people (18 – 30) who are currently out of work have been so for 12 months. Half (49%) of those unemployed are not confident about finding any work in the next three months – and even more (72%) aren’t confident about finding a job that meets their career ambitions and salary expectations in the next three months.  

Furthermore, one in ten (14%) young people not in work have applied for more than 30 jobs in the last three months, and over half of those not in work (51%) have not accessed any support services to help them look for work. 44% of those who are not currently in work, but looking for employment, attended university. 

Lee Ann Panglea, Head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, the professional body for HR and people development, said:

“Young Scots are clearly worried about the impact Covid has had on their future careers, with nearly half saying their prospects have worsened. We also see a concerning deterioration in young people’s mental health. Employers need to step in to ensure a generation is not left behind.  

“While Brexit and much talk of staff shortages in recent months may give the impression that it should be easy for young people to walk into a job, they are still often left at the back of the queue because employers tend to favour experienced workers. 

“We want to help young Scots get their career off to a flying start as unemployment at a young age can leave permanent scarring - and means they’re more likely to earn less over the course of their working lives and experience more spells of unemployment. 

“More employers also need to take a chance on young people - and be prepared to train them up - given our labour supply is changing and staff shortages are becoming more prevalent. We also don’t want organisations to miss out on the creativity, ingenuity and energy young people can bring.” 

To coincide with the campaign launch, the CIPD has released a new guide for employers on the UK’s various youth employment and training programmes. It aims to help organisations decide which programme can help them to meet their workforce challenges.   

The CIPD also offers jobseekers (aged 18 - 24) help with CV writing, job searching and interview technique through its Steps Ahead mentoring programme. Mentors are CIPD members who are all HR and recruitment professionals. For further information, visit:

Employers can pledge their support for the campaign by using #1mChances