Comment: Help to back our leaders of tomorrow

Chris Sibbald, head of communications at Tesco Bank, is calling for more businesses to support The Prince's Trust. Picture: Paul Hampton
Chris Sibbald, head of communications at Tesco Bank, is calling for more businesses to support The Prince's Trust. Picture: Paul Hampton
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Political and economic uncertainty is dominating the headlines, yet I was still shocked to learn of the extent to which it is having an adverse effect on our young people.

The Prince’s Trust eBay Youth Index revealed that young people in Scotland’s overall wellbeing score has dropped since 2018, with 70 per cent feeling anxious about their future due to the economic landscape. More than 50 per cent worry they won’t be able to buy their own home, and a majority fear they will never be financially stable enough to plan ahead.

It is essential that we do all that we can to tackle these challenges and ensure our young people have an increasing stake in our economy and society. We need to raise their confidence, help them develop skills, and support them in taking advantage of any changes that will result in new opportunities.

Despite the improving youth employment statistics, we know Scotland has a significant skills gap, as shown by a recent survey published by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute.

The Scottish Government have committed to reducing this, which must include a focus on young people – boosting their skills and ensuring that they have the knowledge of potential career paths. The private sector also plays a vital role in upskilling the young, offering them real opportunities to prosper for the long-term. After all, the young people of today are tomorrow’s leaders.

As chair of The Prince’s Trust Financial & Business Lunch, I’ve seen first-hand the energy, positivity and sense of enterprise our young people have. The trust works with corporate partners who show real commitment in lifting young people up: instilling a sense of pride, increasing their employability and, in many cases, transforming their lives. It is a joy to support and watch.

It is phenomenal that three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training. To put that in context, in Scotland alone the trust aims to help 10,000 young people each year to develop the skills and confidence they need to live, learn and earn.

If more organisations support the mutually beneficial partnerships across business, education and government, we can ensure that all young people who need help receive it, and that they are given the essential tools to help them build a better future for themselves, their communities and our country.

On Friday 11 May at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, the annual Prince’s Trust Financial & Business Lunch, sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investment, hosted 300 business leaders and a brilliant panel of speakers. The event raised vital funds and awareness of the trust’s work in every region of Scotland. We would like even more business to get involved so to find out more about how your business could do more for our young people visit www.princes-trust.org.uk.

- Chris Sibbald is head of communications at Tesco Bank