Access to employment

The employment market is changing rapidly. Young people entering the world of work today are navigating emerging industries, new technologies, and new models of employment which provide more flexibility (and less security) than ever before.

On top of this, we have a job market which has been heavily impacted by Covid-19. On one hand, the pandemic has demonstrated that for many, new and more flexible ways of working are possible. On the other, the lockdown has seen an almost complete shutdown of key sectors including hospitality, tourism and the arts.

The pandemic has laid bare the inequalities in our labour market, with those on lower incomes less likely to be able to work from home, more likely to be on the frontline of the response to the crisis and more likely to experience loss of income or redundancy.1

In a context of rising unemployment and economic recession, young people who were already facing barriers to work are likely to struggle even more to gain a secure foothold on the career ladder. We work with organisations that help young people overcome barriers to work and find decent employment that will enable them to contribute and to thrive.

£371,000£371,000 has been given to charities supporting people into work in 2019/20 through grants, fundraising and GAYE


Working in partnership

We invested £371,000 into helping young people move forward with their careers this year. This included continued funding for our Empowering Young Women into Work programme, supporting six charities to engage young women facing barriers to work and help them into sustainable employment.

Adding value
21 Berkeley Group staff volunteered to support young people taking part in Creativity Works, our partnership with the Mayor’s Fund for London. Volunteers helped the young people to develop their CVs and cover letters, and prepare for interviews.

Learning & sharing
Our funding enabled Leadership Through Sport & Business to deliver their ‘Women in Leadership’ conference. The event was a chance for young women to meet, learn from and network with a host of inspirational female leaders

875This year, we have helped 875 people to break down barriers to work

75%of young women supported by Leadership Through Sport & Business programme gained a Level 2 Accountancy qualification

94%of women supported through our partnership with the Baytree Centre reported that they had reduced barriers to work

70%of young people taking part in Creativity Works successfully move into employment, education or training

Case studies

Liam & Creativity Works

Liam Collins, who is 23 years old and from Croydon, is a 2019 Creativity Works participant. He explains: “I was a Film and Television graduate; getting rejection letters and feeling like I didn’t have a place in the industry.”

Read more

Ella & Young Women’s Trust

Ella took part in Young Women’s Trust’s remote Work It Out programme. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents young women aged 18 – 30 who are struggling to live on low or no pay.

Read more

Chelsea & Ways into Work

Ways into Work supports people with a barrier to employment, typically a disability and/or mental health condition, into the workplace. Their mission is to change lives, one job at a time.

Read more

Toby & Prince’s Trust

Toby signed up with the Prince’s Trust to help him move forward with his career goals. “I had been battling mental health problems for a few years before I joined the Prince’s Trust programme.

Read more


Understanding the need

Youth unemployment
The unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds was 11.9% in January – March 2020,up from 10.8% the year before.2 Many young people work in industries that have been hit especially hard by Covid-19, such as hospitality. We won’t know the full scale of the impact for some time, but the effects are likely to be long lasting and significant.

Sustaining and progressing in work
Securing a job is an important first step, but many young people find themselves in low-paid roles without real options for increasing their responsibilities or salary, putting them at risk of in-work poverty. Supporting young people to sustain and progress in work is as important as helping them to access work in the first place.

Breaking down barriers
Many young people face additional barriers to work – including caring responsibilities, lack of qualifications, disabilities and mental health issues, and systemic racism. We support charities which work closely with both young people and employers to break down these barriers and create a labour market which is more accessible and equitable.

1 Resolution Foundation. The effects of the coronavirus crisis on workers. May 2020.
2 House of Commons Library. Powell A, Francis-Devine B, Foley N. Youth Unemployment Statistics. August 2020.


Getting involved

Our partnerships with organisations that help young people prepare for their first steps of a new career offer some fantastic volunteering opportunities for Berkeley staff. Staff support young people with employability sessions and workshops, helping them to build their CVs and prepare for upcoming interviews.

Street Elite construction training

24 young people from the Street Elite programme took part in revision sessions hosted by Berkeley staff ahead of their CSCS exams. The CSCS card allows them to go onto site and complete an initial two-week work placement.

Creativity Works

Liz Winford from St George volunteered as an employability mentor through Creativity Works. She says: “I have really enjoyed being part of the Creativity Works mentoring. We had the opportunity to meet with lots of young people over the course of the sessions. Everyone had such energy and drive, they were fantastic to be around and it was great to be part of their journey.

“I learnt a lot from the programme delivery team and always took something new away from their presentations. They too have such energy, it was great to be around them.“

Crisis’ Employment Platform

Volunteers from Berkeley Group helped out at Crisis’ Employment Platform event in October. The events are a great opportunity for Crisis members to attend workshops, receive personalised coaching, and hear about live vacancies.

Street Elite work placements

This year we hosted nine work experience placements for Street Elite graduates across Berkeley. Jessie did her work placement in the People team at Berkeley St Edward.

In her first week she learnt about the recruitment process, how payroll works, inductions for new starters and about the employee benefits programme. Following this, she spent some time with the admin team, helping to coordinate training and development for 400 staff in the division


Other focus areas

A safe place to call home

Ensuring young people have secure, stable accommodation.
1,149young people reached this year

Read more

The skills to succeed

Helping young people develop the skills and capabilities they need to thrive.
1,429young people reached this year

Read more

Health & wellbeing

Supporting young people to live happy, healthy lives.
1,890young people reached this year

Read more

Read more by downloading our Annual Review 2020.

The Berkeley Foundation

The Berkeley Foundation is the working name of The Berkeley Charitable Foundation, a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1152596), a company registered in England and Wales (Registration Number 8548400).

Contact us

The Berkeley Foundation
Berkeley House
19 Portsmouth Road
KT11 1JG

© All Rights Reserved 2024