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Tackling youth unemployment

After a work placement at a landscape gardening company, Tim has secured a full-time job

When Tim first approached the employment charity Tomorrow’s People, he was homeless and had been out of education since the age of 14. Today, thanks to an initiative supported by HSBC, he has a full-time job as a landscape gardener and has also helped to build a gold-medal winning garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014.

He is one of more than 9,000 young people in the UK who have been helped to enter employment, education or training during the first year of the Opportunity Partnership – a collaboration between HSBC and four charities.

Tim was determined to work but didn’t know where to start, so Tomorrow’s People arranged a work experience placement for him at a landscape gardening company as part of its Works! programme. The business owner was so impressed by Tim’s attitude that he offered him a paid trial and subsequently a permanent job.

In a small way, we can help reduce youth unemployment and improve the lives of young people

Antonio Simoes,

Tim is also now doing a horticultural apprenticeship. “The apprenticeship will give me qualifications for life, but most of all I am really happy,” he said. “I love my job and look forward to going to work every day – and getting paid! I am taking driving lessons and I pay my bills. I have a future.”

Youth unemployment remains a significant challenge in the UK. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, 853,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed between February and April 2014.

Established in April 2013, the Opportunity Partnership aims to help 16 to 25 year-olds from disadvantaged or difficult backgrounds – who often face the greatest barriers to gaining employment – to develop the confidence and skills to secure and hold down a job.

HSBC is donating GBP30 million over three years to Catch22, St Giles Trust, The Prince’s Trust and Tomorrow’s People through the Opportunity Partnership. The aim is to help 25,000 disadvantaged young people in 139 towns and cities around the country to find work, education or training. Volunteers from the bank are also helping young people with CV writing, interview techniques and money management skills.

Alongside the Opportunity Partnership, HSBC has also announced the expansion of its Traineeship Programme, with the aim of helping a further 750 young people in the UK to secure employment by the end of 2015. This four-week vocational training course, run in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, provides young people with the customer services skills needed to enter financial services and other industrial sectors, as well as a basic introduction to banking.

Everyone who completes the programme receives support from The Prince’s Trust to help them into work or training, and is also guaranteed an interview to join HSBC as a permanent employee. So far, 20 participants have gone on to join the bank’s apprenticeship programme.

Antonio Simoes, CEO, UK, HSBC, said: “By working together, The Prince’s Trust and HSBC have shown that when we provide meaningful work experience, customer service and employability skills, we can give young people the confidence to help them secure a job on their own ability. In a small way, we can help reduce youth unemployment and improve the lives of young people.”