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Advertorial feature by BAE Systems
  1. Spotlight on Policy
21 February 2020

Breaking the “no experience, no job” cycle

Employers can tackle youth unemployment and build a diverse pool of talent through work experience, say BAE Systems and Movement to Work

By BAE Systems

Giving workers their first chance

Movement to Work is a not-for-profit coalition of 100 UK employers, government and civil society committed to reducing the UK youth unemployment rate and transforming the lives of previously overlooked young people through work experience. The initiative is governed and resourced by a steering group of CEOs and senior leaders from Accenture, BAE Systems, BT, Barclays, CBI, M&S, Tesco, The Prince’s Trust and others. All resource and support provided by the charity is free to use for the wider membership base.

Founded in 2013, Movement to Work supports employers in delivering high-quality work experience placements to 18-30 year olds who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). This mechanism is
 a proven tool in breaking the vicious cycle of “no experience, no job” that is hindering so many. To date, Movement to Work members have delivered over 95,000 workplace opportunities across the UK, with 55 per cent of programme participants progressing into jobs and apprenticeships, or returning to education

Making good business sense

Movement to Work is supporting employers in building a sustainable and diverse talent pipeline as well as providing the prospect of long-term careers for young people and opportunities to support their social mobility. In 2018 52 per cent of the young people on the programme were female, 18 per cent from a black or ethnic minority background, and 18 per cent identified as having a disability. Moreover, Accenture’s study into the financial performance of the NHS employability programme delivered through Movement to Work, demonstrated a return of 2.5 times on every £1 spent and a breakeven threshold of 19 months. Specific benefits include reduced turnover (9 per cent), reduced absence (2 per cent) and increased staff commitment. Eighty per cent of hiring managers thought the initiative had a positive impact.

More employers needed!

The charity is keen to discuss how large, national employers across the UK and small and medium-sized enterprises in the North East, North West and West Midlands can make a significant contribution to youth unemployment through work experience opportunities. Movement to Work holds regular events for members and companies who are considering joining the programme to discuss best practice and network.
In addition monthly webinars are held to consider prominent issues such as the hiring of ex-offenders
and mentoring.

Case study: “I got a chance to show what I could do”

BAE Systems is a leading member of Movement to Work, the UK’s largest employer-led collaboration aimed at reducing unemployment for those aged 18-30 and not in education, employment or training. The programme consists of two weeks of confidence-building activities and skills training with The Prince’s Trust, including CV writing and interview advice, and a two-week work placement at a BAE Systems facility.

“The work I got involved in during the placement was really tangible, and I got a chance to show what I could do” says Anastacia (pictured), who was a Movement to Work participant on the BAE Systems programme and is now employed permanently as a project controller in the company. “The placement really got us involved with real projects in the business.”  Adam Withenshaw, Anastacia’s mentor from BAE Systems’ Air business added: “What I enjoy most about this programme is the rapid and significant change you can see in young people’s confidence. It’s really inspiring.”

In 2019 BAE Systems offered 98 placements a year, with 497 young people having completed the Movement to Work programme since 2014. More than one third of participants are now in permanent employment within BAE Systems, with 118 becoming apprentices and one joining the graduate scheme. The company has contributed £676,000 to the programme since 2014, with a further commitment of £294,000 for 2020.

In return, Movement to Work offers cost efficiencies for participating companies. BAE Systems estimates the cost of recruiting an apprentice who has been through the programme is roughly half that of the typical recruitment process. The programme has also helped to boost interest in Stem (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers among underrepresented groups. And the structure of Movement to Work has also encouraged more women to explore a career in engineering.

For more information: and through Sophia Spencer, Head of Partnership Development at

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