New support for young people to navigate the COVID-19 job market


  • LEP FutureGoals initiative launches online career support for young people at risk of unemployment or at risk of not continuing education or training
  • West Yorkshire has seen an 87% rise in out of work benefit claimants
  • FutureGoals offers tailored careers support, apprenticeship advice, a service to match young people to local job opportunities and tips on how to start a business

As the pandemic has already hit their career prospects hard, young people can now benefit from extra support as the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) FutureGoals initiative launches online help for those in danger of finding themselves not in education, employment, or training.

COVID-19 represents the largest and most profound challenge in the employment market in a generation. There are now 49,500 people of working age claiming out of work benefits in West Yorkshire, an 87% increase compared with the pre-lockdown period in March 2020. Around 380,000 people in West Yorkshire – or 26% of the region’s working age population – have low or no qualifications and are disadvantaged in the labour market. Helping young people build essential skills and keep developing is a serious challenge and key to the economic recovery.

FutureGoals is rising to that challenge by empowering school leavers to be informed and inspired about their future career or training options.

Young people can now go to the FutureGoals website to find a range of support including an Employment Hub service that matches job seekers to local employers; tailored careers support; tips to start a business; links to universities and colleges courses; inspirational videos; apprenticeship support and home learning activities to gain new skills, practice interview techniques and create a C.V.


Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council said:

“The impact of COVID-19 has seen many of our young people out of education, at a time crucial in their future development, causing them to feel worried and uncertain about their next steps.

It is vital for our economic recovery that our future workforce is supported with clear guidance to develop the skills needed to succeed in their careers.”

The aim of the initiative is to help school or college leavers feel reassured that they still have plenty of options, despite the pandemic.


Mae Presley, a year 10 student from Leeds said:

“Being aged 14 during a global pandemic and having to learn from home hasn’t been easy. At first, I enjoyed having time at home, but I quickly realised that missing so much school could have a huge effect on my future and that felt quite worrying.

Being able to find advice and resources on FutureGoals has really helped me understand my options. I’m hoping to start an engineering apprenticeship when I leave school next year and through FutureGoals, I’ve realised I can get support through the LEP’s Employment Hub to help me plan my next steps in starting an apprenticeship.”

As part of the support package, a series of free interactive resources are also available.

The FutureGoals Remote resources equip teachers and parents with home-learning activities to help young people develop skills for their future careers. Based on local labour market information, all activities are linked to employer needs and the most in-demand job roles for West Yorkshire.