New platform bids to help young people in pandemic-hit jobs market

Classof2020 is a free online platform offering students and graduates training and careers guidance from a number of big business names

A new platform has been launched in a bid to offer students and graduates training and careers guidance, as they navigate a jobs market hit hard by coronavirus.

Initially given a soft launch in June last year, Classof2020 is a free online learning tool offering materials provided by the likes of Microsoft, Salesforce, O2, Seedrs, and PwC.

A volunteer-supported, community-driven project, Classof2020 was established to help young people overcome the unique set of challenges posed by the pandemic.

“Those joining the workforce today face more hurdles than the generations before them,” said founder, Norbert Morawetz.

Unemployment is high, opportunities are scarce, and a year stuck at home has cut off many first jobs in bars, retail or leisure, which often provide skills which are invaluable in later careers.”

Morawetz’s concerns are borne out by a series of striking official statistics:

  • Those aged under 18 have the highest take up of the government furlough scheme, at 41% of females and 30% of males, according to figures released by HMRC on 28 January
  • In February, government figures revealed that youth unemployment had reached its highest level since 2016, having increased by 13% in September-November 2020, compared with the pre-pandemic quarter of January-March 2020 
  • Prospects remain sparse, with vacancies at the end of 2020 nearly 28% lower than at the same point in the previous year

Despite the hardships they face, says Classof2020, that same cohort ‘also possess unparalleled strengths: they’re tech-savvy, self-motivated and endlessly adaptable. All that talent shouldn’t go to waste.’

The platform is free for anyone to sign up to, and offers guidance in such areas as artificial intelligence, writing business plans, and digital marketing. It also offers advice on CVs and interviews.

The ultimate aim of the project ‘is to help graduates not only survive but thrive in this uncertain new world, using professional training materials and personalised development schemes to create a roadmap towards employment’.

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