KFC has committed that a third of its new hires in the UK by 2030 will be young people who are disadvantaged or facing employment barriers. In the pursuit of supporting youth employment, KFC Foundation and UK Youth have teamed up to introduce a new youth employability programme. This programme is known as ‘Hatch’ and is aiming to provide better support for disadvantaged youth to get into employment, develop their work skills and build their careers and confidence.
These initiatives come as means to tackle youth unemployment which is a significant concern across the UK. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported in April to June 2022, around 10.4% of young people in the UK aged 16 to 24 were not in education, employment or training. Programmes such as Hatch are designed to contribute to lowering these numbers so that the next generation will be more equipped for work.
Over the decades, youth unemployment has been a persistent issue in the UK. With the escalation of the problem started in 2005, it has since been further complicated by the effects of the pandemic as well as the cost-of-living crisis. Even though the number of unemployed young people has risen and fallen throughout the years, a report by the House of Commons states that the number of young people in employment is still 98,000 (3%) lower than pre-pandemic levels.
Being unemployed at a young age has been seen as a cause for long-term salary reductions, increased chance for longer unemployed periods and poor health. On the economic side, high numbers of youth unemployment are estimated to cost £28 billion over the next decade. Furthermore, a generation heavily impacted by youth unemployment will lead to inadequate talent pools needed in the future.
Many businesses have admitted that they struggle in hiring young and ready-for-work employees. Programmes and commitments such as the ones done by KFC can be seen as an example of companies acting for the cause of lowering youth unemployment.
KFC’s Contribution to the Cause
Many young people in the UK have missed out on traditional employment opportunities due to disadvantages growing up, creating a barrier for them to break into the job market. The Hatch employability programme introduced by KFC and UK Youth serves as a way for these organisations to break this cycle of exclusion and inequality.
It is described that this programme is delivered by partnering with local youth organisations. Young people registered in the programme will be able to receive 1-2-1 support, group training and work placements. Upon completion of the programme, they will also be guaranteed an interview with KFC which can lead to employment.
This can be seen as a way for KFC to fulfil their commitment in ensuring a third of their new hires by 2030 are young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They have estimated that their initiatives for the cause will help around 6,000 people get their first job.
Things to Consider in the Future
Although this is a great initiative to help more young people get into employment, there are some things that need to be considered. Employability schemes such as KFC’s Hatch should include a more comprehensive commitment to the employees’ career development. KFC should consider how they can help their employees to progress and get promoted. There is also a need to ensure that ultimately this is for the professional development of the employees and not a way for companies to exploit and restrict young people from disadvantaged backgrounds further.