Key members of the West Midlands business community gathered at BMet’s Matthew Boulton College this week, to discuss a youth-focused report highlighting the impact of Covid-19 on young people.
Over 100 people attended the event, both in person and online.
Commissioned by BMet, Beatfreaks, an engagement and insight agency with a growing community of young creatives, investigated the pandemic’s impact on young people, communities and careers.
This new report is a follow up to Beatfreeks 2020, Dig the Data report about young people in the region and the impact of the pandemic. Click here to read more on the 2020 report.
Suzie Branch-Haddow, Vice Principal – External Development at BMet, chaired the event on the 2021 report findings which included discussions with a panel of leading figures in the region:
Raj Kandola, Head of Policy at the Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Jayne Licari, Head of Brand and External Communications at BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Henriette Breukelaar, Director of Economic Strategy at the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and Afzal Hussain, Chief Officer at Witton Lodge Community Association.
Using a survey of data and insights from 250 participants aged 16-25, The Youth Report, provided a comprehensive overview of trends in areas of employment, work and careers, money and youth voice, volunteering and social responsibility.
Suzie said: “All too often the effects of huge and transformative situations and issues on young people are over-looked which is why as a college it was so important to work with Beatfreeks on this follow up report.
“Young people are such a vital demographic who can not only help shape communities and the world we live in for the better now, but who can play a significant role in making positive changes for future generations and it is important that their voice is heard.
“This Youth Report is ground-breaking and has lots of scope for effecting change, so it is a real honour for BMet to be a part of it.”
The 2021 report specifically explored the impact of Covid-19 on:
- A generation who already faces perhaps greater career difficulties in the region
- Communities which were severely affected by the death of George Floyd and the ongoing campaigns which have followed
- Young people for whom home ownership, aspiration, savings and finances are real, tangible and everyday concerns.
Fabio Thomas, Insight Manager at Beatfreeks, who compiled the report, brought the event to life by outlining key findings in his opening speech.
Among other things, he highlighted that:
- Young people are increasingly keen to play a positive role in society but expect organisations to play a key role in change and social responsibility.
- 95% of young people care about social issues.
- 95% of young people in the region think that brands and organisations should play a role in social issues in some way.
- 80% of young people have identified themselves as actively working towards their future careers.
- 56% of young people in the West Midlands say that they worry about money.
- 70% of young people in the West Midlands say that it has been longer than a year since they felt proud of where they live.
- The consumption of digital media doubled in 2020 compared to 2019.
Fabio said: “The Covid-19 pandemic, has had a huge effect on young people in all aspects of their lives, including their careers, finances and identity. Therefore, having their voices heard is paramount.
“Labelling them as the “Covid 19 Generation” or “Gen Z” as can often be the case, without a deep understanding of their situations, is not at all helpful.
“This is why the findings of the report serve an important insight into what affects young people, what makes a difference to them and how they can influence key decision makers – who affect current and future generations.”
Click here to read the report in full.
To find out more about the work that BMet does with partner organisations and like-minded businesses to improve and help shape the life chances of young people, please visit: https://www.bmet.ac.uk/employers/.