Monday 29 June 2020 10:04 am

Help young Londoners take their first step on the career ladder

William Russell is Lord Mayor of London.

For so many young people, the coronavirus pandemic has left them questioning their educational future and career pathways.

It has been such an uncertain time for pupils across the capital. And that’s why this year we were even more determined than ever before to host the London Careers Festival (LCF), albeit in a new format.

Today, we are bringing together a number of major organisations including Bloomberg, London Southbank University, PwC, NatWest and the Metropolitan Police Service to host live sessions with pupils, showcasing the career paths available to them and discussing the skills needed for the world of work.

Read more: Life after lockdown: Returning to the classroom won’t be straightforward for our vulnerable children

The LCF was set to be held at the Guildhall, the home of the City Corporation, but will now take place virtually, between 29 June and 3 July.

Now more than ever, London’s young people need to be supported in their educational journey, and the virtual LCF will provide a platform for them to connect with the most interesting, progressive organisations in the country.

The LCF is the second of its kind, building on the success of last year’s event which linked up more than 5,000 pupils with 120 organisations.

There is too often a lack of opportunity for people from less financially advantaged families, who sometimes struggle to find a place within the workforce or climb the career ladder.

As a business community we must do more to support social mobility, ensuring that people receive the guidance, support, and opportunity to find a career that they are passionate about.

The future prosperity of any city depends on the skills and creativity of its people. Our challenge — and opportunity — is to develop the talents that exist in every young person and allow them to form part of a world-class workforce.

That’s why we are connecting young Londoners with the business world — to not only introduce them to the diverse array of opportunities offered across the capital and beyond, but also to fuel their imaginations, develop their skills, and inspire their futures.

Experiencing the work environment boosts pupils’ career prospects and opens up a wide pool of talent for businesses. And at a time where there is so much uncertainty, careers advice for young people is paramount too.

So we are helping businesses to step up, offer support to schools and to play a leading role in developing the skills of the future workforce. We want to encourage employers and schools to come together to create a genuine and long-term “bridge to business”.

Good guidance is critical if young people are to raise their aspirations and take advantage of the opportunities available to them. And this year’s London Careers Festival will do just that, providing London’s diverse young people with a wealth of knowledge and resources needed to have successful careers.

Read more: I helped write the manifesto — and now our skills agenda is more important than ever

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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