18 September 2017
The OPERA Global Youth Foundation held their official launch on Friday in a call to action to the recruitment industry to be part of the solution to youth unemployment.
Esther O’Callaghan, OBE and OPERA’s CEO, welcomed more than 80 recruitment and staffing industry leaders to the launch event where she spoke about her experiences and motivations to set up OPERA.
“The question I am asked the most is why do I do this? The reason is simple,” O’Callaghan said. “I believe good jobs give young people the means with which to work their way out of poverty. To earn and own their future while making a positive impact on society. I was one of those young people – and I have had the privilege of working with young people who have faced unimaginable challenges – but who given the right support, belief and an opportunity, grasp it with both hands. No matter how bright you are someone, somewhere has to be willing to give you a chance and to support you.”
According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, the number of NEET’s (Neither in Education, Employment or Training) stood at 790,000 for the three months to June 2017. Meanwhile, ONS figures also showed that for the period from May to July 2017, for people aged from 16 to 24, there were 528,000 unemployed persons.
“We have to go beyond corporate social responsibility and make a tangible, measurable difference to young people,” O’Callaghan said. “We have a real opportunity to truly unite our industry and make a difference to the lives of thousands of young people. This is exactly why OPERA have chosen their first UK partner, leading youth charity; The Prince’s Trust. Through this partnership, we are working together to support 2,500 young people into work next year”.
During the panel discussion Chair and Recruitment Directors Lunch Club Founder, Dean Kelly was joined by Darren Ryemill of Opus Recruitment Solutions; James Osborne, Chairman of the Recruitment Network; as well as other recruitment professionals, who shared both personal experiences of their journeys into work as well as discussing the difference OPERA has made to their businesses.
“The launch was a call to action for OPERA’s first major fundraising campaign to raise £500,000 by asking 1,000 industry leaders to pledge their support for OPERA,” the foundation stated. “The pledge will enable OPERA to directly employ four young people and contribute toward our goal to support 2,500 young people into work next year.”
OPERA was founded in 2016 by O’Callaghan and has been supported by a number of recruitment industry leaders.