Bermondsey project The Reach Up programme launches giving recruits the power to earn a living, build skills and confidence

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A project aims to give young people confidence, skills and experience to help them get into the job market.

The Reach Up programme launched on Monday in Bermondsey giving 20 new recruits the power to earn a living.

This follows a pilot and research into what blocks young people from getting jobs – it revealed 55 percent of 16-25-year olds believe anxiety is one of the biggest barriers to securing work, despite record levels of employment.

Almost a third of this age group said they had experienced anxiety and depression when job hunting, and it had hindered their search.

But 30 per cent got jobs less than a month after leaving education.

But 22 per cent still did not have one after a year.

Being a carer, not having a driving licence and having a disability were among the barriers which made it much harder.

Of those surveyed, 81 per cent claimed confidence was what would best help them into employment. The other important factors were being able to move home and academic results.

UK Youth’s tailored Reach Up programme equips young people with skills to prepare them for the workplace. The Bermondsey Reach Up programme, aims to address some of the issues unearthed by the research.

These include workshops delivered by youth workers and CCEP volunteers; networking masterclasses; mock interviews; and real-life work experience through spending a day in the life of part-project funder – Coca Cola’s field sales team and running their own Community Café.

Up to 80 per cent of graduates reported an increase in confidence and 94 per cent said they had received the knowledge they needed to find a job.

Patrick Shaw-Brown, director of national programmes at UK Youth said: “We hear a great deal about mental health issues in the workplace, but it’s equally important to shine a light on the impact anxiety has when seeking employment.

“This research demonstrates the mounting challenges young people face when it comes to securing meaningful employment.

“The transition into employment is undoubtedly a tough experience for many young people, bringing with it challenges and responsibilities they may not be aware of, or equipped to cope with.

“Many young people don’t have, or don’t recognise that they have, the confidence or relevant experiences needed to enter the workplace.

We’re proud to work with Coca-Cola on this new programme to give young people real life experiences and the confidence to prepare them the workplace.”

GB community partnerships manager of Coca Cola Holly Firmin, said: “We believe in an inclusive society and diverse workforce that brings together different levels of expertise, backgrounds and perspectives.

“This research shows many young people are having to deal with mental health issues and often lack confidence and the key skills needed to thrive in the workplace.

“We understand these barriers are tough, but they are not insurmountable.

“Alongside UK Youth, we hope to help empower the next generation with the employability skills and confidence needed to transition into work.

“Our local field sales teams are based across the country and are inspired and motivated to nurture this in the local communities by providing coaching and experience.”

Young people in the area can find more information about the Bermondsey Reach Up programme by going to



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