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Act now to prevent a lost generation, says PD Ports chief

[ December 11, 2020   //   ]

PD Ports renewed its call for businesses to back young people during the Covid pandemic and beyond at a webinar led by chief executive Frans Calje and chair of the CILT UK Ports, Maritime and Waterways Forum, Les Richings.

After a year of unprecedented challenges, Frans Calje shared his concerns that the pandemic could hinder the next generation and explained why now, more than ever, businesses need to aid young people in achieving their ambitions.

He said: “One of the things that we are particularly concerned about is that a whole generation of young people will fall between the cracks of finishing education and starting employment. That’s why we’ve been calling, alongside our partners, for businesses to really double their efforts and bridge the gap between employers and the next generation of employees.

“When I was 16/17 I had no idea what I wanted to do and it is still the case that young people simply don’t know what opportunities are out there. We need to challenge that.”

PD Ports’ civil engineering apprentice Emily Clark also expressed her concerns that young people don’t release the opportunities on their doorsteps.

“It’s so important that companies like PD Ports continue to promote opportunities that are real and achievable within our area,” she said.

“People have the preconceived idea that you have to move away to find work, or to go to university, and that is not the case. The career prospects in our area are getting greater and greater and it is so important for both young people and businesses to really come together and help the Tees Valley reach its full potential.”

The port operator has worked closely with the High Tide Foundation since its inception in 2012 to deliver meaningful career experiences to young people aged 11-19.

The port operator is now planning a ‘virtual summit’ to give young people an opportunity to share their experiences and ideas directly with business followed by a national forum that brings together partners, including leaders from industry and the wider maritime sector, to develop a plan of action.