Movement to Work – helping young people into the world of work

By Oriana Garcia

This year we will welcome 350 young people into our work placement scheme. It's part of our commitment to be an employer of choice and a trusted corporate citizen.

Our work placement scheme is supported by Movement to Work (MtW), a charity coalition of the UK’s leading employers, civil society and government. It tackles youth unemployment by providing work placement schemes for young people, aged between 16 and 24, in companies across the UK, to escape the trap of ‘no experience, no job – no job, no experience’.

Employers are supported by the charity to set up organised placements that combine employability skills and on the job training, including CV and interview support and hands-on work experience. The scheme empowers young people, enabling them to gain confidence in a working environment and invaluable access to the world of work.

Since it began five years ago, Movement to Work has organised over 80,000 placements in total. Iain Conn, our Group Chief Executive, said: “I’m pleased to say that of those 80,000 placements…about 50% have ended up back in work or some form of education. We, and our partners, organise placements which involve things like classroom work on CVs and interview training, but also hands-on experience in contact centres, or a day out with a British Gas engineer. And this gives them confidence to access the world of work again and seems to be having some very positive results.”

Kirsty MacDiarmid, our Learning Community Manager, said: “I’m proud to say that we are able to offer young people the opportunity to gain vital experience through our programme, across many of our sites in Leicester, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Staines and Leeds. 

“Our programme gives a great overview of what we do as a business as it involves colleagues from customer operations, field operations, resourcing and learning and development. This all wouldn’t happen without our Movement to Work ambassadors who personalise the experience for individuals and truly care about the impact we're having on young people.”

Oriana Garcia, Moving Home Advisor and graduate of Movement to Work, explains how her experiences on our programme propelled her to a successful career at Centrica.

“I was in part time employment due to childcare; however, I was actively looking for full time work as my daughter was getting older. My advisor at the Job Centre told me British Gas was holding a taster day to learn more about the two-week Movement to Work programme that was taking place. After attending that day, I applied for the programme.

“The programme went above and beyond my expectations. It was filled with exciting activities to make learning fun. I was given the opportunity to travel and meet new people. There was a good structure to the weekly schedules. Everyone at Centrica was very friendly and made me feel welcome. On completing the programme, I received a certificate which was thoughtful and good for my development!

“I started working for Centrica in May 2017 and in the first couple of months my name was put forward to be part of a team called the GMR team. This role included engaging agents in the contact centre and making the work environment a fun place to be. Following this, Greater Manchester Engagement Champions positions became available and I became the engagement champ for the whole of my contact centre. I was also chosen to step up as a team manager for a month, which was an amazing experience and one I am extremely grateful for as this helped expand my skillset even further. Currently, I am a moving home advisor, which I really enjoy.

“I’m proud to say I work for Centrica. I feel valued as an employee and am grateful to be offered opportunities for development whilst becoming multiskilled along the way.”

Centrica is a founding member and trustee of the Movement to Work scheme. Since 2013, we have supported 1,448 young people on our two-week long programmes. As part of our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion, we are looking forward to supporting more young people into the world of work throughout 2019.