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OPERA charity event to bring recruitment industry together to tackle youth unemployment

On July 20th, Recruitment International’s charity partner, the OPERA Global Youth Foundation, will be hosting a special event at One Great George Street in London for recruitment business leaders and agency owners to find out how they can collaborate better and play an active role in helping young people gain and remain in employment.


The event is the first of its kind for the Foundation, which was launched by ten recruitment business leaders and Esther O’Callaghan OBE (pictured left) in 2016. Since then it has garnered the support from some of the recruitment industry’s leading players, including Dean Kelly (pictured right), founder of Gardean Human Capital, Gerald Fitzgerald, COO at Morgan McKinley, and Keith Potts, founder and CEO of Talentic.


Former UK country manager for Recruitment International, Teri Etherington, has recently joined the team at OPERA, having spent the best part of 16 years working in the recruitment sector – six of which were spent with Recruitment International. 


She said, “I am thrilled and excited to be joining such a great team that is working together and uniting recruitment leaders to achieve an ambitious yet equally achievable goal.


“This event is the first of its kind in the UK and an opportunity for us all to use our connections for the greater good.”


Esther O’Callaghan OBE, founder CEO of OPERA, commented, “There are nearly one million young people in this country that face unemployment. We have built OPERA to change this for as many young people as we can.  Starting in the UK, our long-term goal is to create opportunities for 71 million young people – the number of young people right now, who through no fault of their own, wake up to unemployment and poverty.


O’Callaghan has been at the forefront of the campaign to improve the lives of young people in the UK. At the age of 24 she became the youngest board member of the Big Lottery Fund and the UK's youngest volunteer business mentor for the Prince's Trust. She also chaired the £200m Young People’s Fund as well as being a board member for the 2012 Olympics Legacy Trust UK. In 2008, O’Callaghan was awarded an OBE for Services to the Voluntary Sector at the age of 27.


O’Callaghan added, “For business, youth unemployment has a negative effect on productivity and economic growth which in turn increases the economic costs for the state. With a predicted 85 million skills shortage by 2020, there is also a real risk of loss of potential talent and skills that could be developed to plug the many gaps that currently exist in the workforce.  The recruitment industry is uniquely placed in the labour market to develop scaleable solutions that will deliver meaningful opportunities for young people.


“Because the greater consequences of young people not being employed is overlooked.


“Unemployment at an early age has a negative impact not only on the future employability of a young person, but also their self-esteem. The feeling of isolation and social exclusion from not having a job can cause stress, depression and other mental health issues”


“It is possible to create an environment where young people, regardless of their background, can reach their full potential and have the opportunity to truly thrive – and that is at the heart of everything we do.


“By working in partnership with the recruitment community we can address many of the practical and financial barriers that prevent young people from entering and remaining in employment.”


Also speaking at the event on 20th July will be guest speakers Jill Thornton, director of talent at Impellam Group, along with a Young Ambassador from OPERA’s UK partner, The Prince’s Trust, to share their personal journey.


For more information about the event, please visit http://buff.ly/2uHtfeO


To find out more about OPERA Global Youth Foundation, please go to http://weareopera.org/


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