GIVE the class of 2020 a chance in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
That is the appeal from training academy The Source, who have urged employers not to leave young people on the shelf after their education was disrupted by the pandemic.
Research from previous recessions shows young people exiting full-time education are hit harder than any other age group.
Chief executive Tricia Smith said: “The economic crisis caused by the pandemic will mean many of this year's school-leavers do not get on the career ladder and this could scar their lives for years.
“We have helped thousands of young people and adults into apprenticeships over the last 17 years and are fighting for the Class of 2020.
“We must ensure they have a future. For many of them, that is via apprenticeships.”
The Sheffield City Region usually sees 14,000 new apprentices appointed a year but this number is expected to fall by a quarter this year.
Ms Smith said businesses may be facing huge dilemmas as they got back on their feet but urged them not to cut back so much they did not dismiss young people.
“Teenagers leaving lockdown need to be shown faith and hope,” she said, highlighting that businesses hiring apprentices were entitled to grants and free training for under-18s.
“Apprentices taking on junior tasks free up experienced staff as you work through the crisis and rebuild a workforce of the future,” she added.
Business development officer Kerry Cook said there would be an army of young people waiting and hoping as business returned to normal.