Taking that first step onto the career ladder can be daunting for a young person – especially when there can be many barriers to employment.

We work closely with Business in the Community and the City and Guilds Group and their research highlights that one of the biggest obstacles for today’s generation in finding work is a lack of previous experience.

As many as 57% of young people cited this as an issue, which is a worrying statistic and makes you wonder just how much potential talent is being lost to outdated recruitment practices?

At Asda we are proud of our culture – we have created an environment that encourages people to develop and emphasises attitude over experience. We are all about finding the right people for the right role and giving them an opportunity to show what they can do. Our ethos is that we recruit for attitude and train for skill – and this is an approach that benefits young people, as we employ them for who they are, not for what they have or haven’t done in the past.

“We have created an environment that encourages people to develop and emphasises attitude over experience”

Hayley Tatum, Asda

The Future Proof campaign mirrors our thinking and commitment to youth employment – it wants to break down barriers in recruitment and create accessible jobs for all young people.

Last year we partnered with the Movement to Work programme, a national initiative that supports young people aged between 18 and 24 who are not in employment, education or training.

Confidence boost

One of the biggest challenges we have found is building the confidence in our trainees. So many young people have experienced years job searching and this can have such a negative effect on a person’s self-esteem.

Through a combination of classroom-based learning and in-store training, we help to restore their confidence and give them essential life skills to equip them for the future. Many of the trainees at the end of the seven-week course are offered permanent employment at Asda, a hugely positive outcome of the programme that we are extremely proud to be able to offer.

“Through classroom-based learning and in-store training, we help to restore confidence and give essential life skills”

Hayley Tatum, Asda

This initiative has been a huge success for Asda and in the last year we have employed 216 people in various roles across the company.

We have met some truly inspiring young people during this time, including Tom Stephens who works in our Altrincham store. Tom, who has cerebral palsy, had been looking for work for more than five years, applying unsuccessfully for 950 jobs in that time.

He joined our Movement to Work programme and having impressed everyone during his training we offered him a permanent job on the checkouts. Being given this chance has really changed his life for the better and he is extremely grateful for the opportunity to prove himself and demonstrate the skills he has.

It is stories like this that makes investing in young people so worthwhile.

  • Hayley Tatum is senior vice-president, people at Asda