British Retail Consortium hails youth opportunities

More than four out of 10 new employees taken on by the retail sector in the last 12 months have been aged between 16 and 21, according to new figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

A survey of BRC members responsible for more than a million retail jobs has found 42 per cent of new starters were aged 21 or younger, which equates to at least 13,500 jobs for this age group.
Across the UK, retailing also provides 42 per cent of 16 to 17 year olds in employment with a job. Similarly, it provides 40 per cent of employment for 18 to 19 year olds and 25 per cent for 20 to 24 year olds.
Under 25s are the age group facing some of the biggest problems getting work in the current climate and their frustrations have been suggested as one of the factors behind the August riots. The unrest over the summer resulted in millions of pounds worth of damage to retailers despite the sector’s good record on providing youth opportunities.
The BRC is hosting a debate at the Liberal Democrat conference on 20 September considering what retail contributes to society. The sector’s employment of young people and projects working with offenders will be among topics highlighted.
British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: "We’ve produced clear and detailed evidence that retail is one of the sectors most likely to give young people the job breaks they need. The August riots were blamed by some on growing frustration among that generation. School and college leavers are facing an incredibly tough time getting into work. Retail found itself in the frontline of the attacks, ironic when it’s actually in the frontline of the solution.
"Retail is at the heart of towns and cities, providing products and services for people, but its positive impact goes far beyond that. Retailers invest in infrastructure, contribute billions in business rates, support local charities and enable staff to do volunteering. In areas affected by the unrest over the summer, retailers are working with neighbouring businesses and communities to repair the damage."

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