Action needed to break barriers for young people from low-income backgrounds in Greater Manchester

New report says action across a range of areas is needed by policymakers and employers to increase employment opportunities in Greater Manchester for 30,000 young people from low-income backgrounds.

The Breaking Barriers report is now available to download here.

Our new report makes a series of recommendations to increase the employment opportunities for young people by directly involving them in employer recruitment decision-making processes.


Proposals include employers providing paid opportunities for young people from low-income backgrounds to assess how the organisation can better support them into work, from outreach at the recruitment stage through to progression.


For policymakers, young people should contribute to evidence gathering for initiatives like Greater Manchester’s Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) by assessing the accessibility of provision, co-design employability strategies and careers services.


Speaking about the report, Lynne Peabody, CEO at EY Foundation, said:

We know that employers increasingly want to build a more diverse workforce and increase social inclusion. This report sets out practical steps to help them do this. Our hope is these recommendations will ensure young people from low-income backgrounds are better supported to overcome the specific recruitment and progression challenges they often face

The report was produced in partnership with recent graduates of the EY Foundation’s programmes, young person organisation Young Manchester and employers from across the region to deliver a series of activities that brought both sides of the labour market together to better understand barriers to recruitment and progression and how they could be overcome.


Through this approach, young people from low-income backgrounds were empowered to share their views with decision-makers, generating insights and recommendations for employers and policymakers engaged in the LSIP.


Saima Miah, EY Foundation Ambassador said:

Hearing other young people like me share similar stories in trying to access employment opportunities, reinforced the realities we often face. I felt empowered to be able to share these challenges with employers and develop solutions that will benefit young people who sometimes don't have the same opportunities as others

Gil Bellchambers, Director at Axon Moore said:

Working directly with young people from this demographic has created a step change in our understanding of the practical barriers they experience and how to provide better support. The report includes clear actions for employers that will help resolve dissatisfaction on both sides of the labour market.

In response to the report’s findings, Greater Manchester Local Skills Improvement Plan Director and Policy Director at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Chris Fletcher said: 

Working with the EY Foundation has helped to ensure the Greater Manchester Local Skills Improvement Plan places a specific focus on providing opportunities to support young people from low-income backgrounds. We recognise the importance of directly engaging with this demographic and we will continue to ensure their needs are integrated into the LSIP as it evolves.