Tag Archives: Speak Up Stay Safe

The government’s work programme: getting the young safely into work

24 Jun

Youth unemployment is a serious issue currently facing the UK. In February it was revealed that nearly one million 16-24-year-olds were out of work, the highest number since comparable records began in 1992. And as getting these young people back into work increasingly becomes a priority, so too must their safety in doing so.

On Wednesday night I attended an All Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs whose aim was to discuss the government’s work programme. The event was held at Portcullis house, chaired by Stewart Jackson MP and attended by the employment minister Chris Grayling, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes, and a host of young people. Simon Hughes actively encouraged the audience to question Chris Grayling, telling us not to “let him off the hook”.

Grayling outlined the elements to his strategy to provide unemployed young people with the support to get back into work. The approach will comprise of three schemes: the government is looking to create opportunities for young people to undertake eight-week work experience placements; it is looking to create far more apprenticeships – 250,000 by the end of parliament; and is currently compiling a list of employers from all sectors who will take on the services of the long-term youth unemployed, with incentives for them doing so. These employers have applied to the government for the right to be able to provide this employment.

Should the initiative go ahead we could witness an unprecedented number of young people entering the workplace for the first time. While I appreciate the benefits embarking on a spell of work experience and gaining a valuable reference from an employer can bring, young people are more at risk of death, injury or illness for a number of reasons, namely a lack of experience and confidence. I’ve worked in risky and hazardous work environments in the past; I knew full well the risks, but did not have sufficient experience to demand the hazards were managed correctly. And I know I’m not the only young person who has done this.  

If the initiative is successful the companies employing this new generation of apprentices and workers need to effectively and supportively manage their safety and health. And I hope that outlining their health and safety policies and the special consideration they will give to young workers will have been a fundamental part of their application to the tender.


Easy peasy PPE

16 Mar

This afternoon I was in a school with a group of drama students. We’re starting to work on a very special secret safety mission. Part of the brief was to show several safety videos… And this one is such a cracker, I thought I’d share it with you too…

Remembering Steven

31 Jan

Steven Burke, young worker

I’ve spent the last week getting all technological and setting up a microsite for a new joint venture with The Co-operative Group called “Safe in our Hands”. In setting it up and writing the copy, I was reminded of the generous spirit, humility and caring nature of one particular young man.   

Today I want to take time for all of us, where ever we’re working and whatever the workplace to remember Steven Burke.

As part of the “Safe in our Hands” charity dinner, we’re giving all proceeds raised to Francis House Children’s Hospice in memory of Steven. Sunday 30 January was the anniversary of Steven’s death. He died too young and aged only 17 years old, in a preventable and tragic workplace accident.

Last year, we ran a new campaign called “Speak Up, Stay Safe” which was aimed directly at young people to make them aware of the potential hazards in the workplace.  As part of the campaign we interviewed parents, teachers, employers and young people to get their stories. It was during this campaign that I met Steven’s mum, Barbara. Watch her story here>>

People like Steven are the reason why I and my colleagues come into work every day. It’s not rocket science. Too many people are dying or being horribly injured. People who had so much more to give and who leave behind devastated families, friends and colleagues.  

So think of Steven today and maybe we can start to make stories like Barbara’s a thing of the past.

Visit www.fack.org.uk for more information.

Work experience girl Paige is on her way up

8 Dec

15-year-old Paige Purewal (above, showing  good handrail use) from Harlington Community School is spending two weeks on work experience with the British Safety Council. Here, she gives us her thoughts on our own health and safety induction and a young person’s view on Speak Up, Stay Safe.

This is my first work experience placement and it is a pleasure to be working with the British Safety Council. Prior to my placement I did not have much knowledge of the British Safety Council and what my roles as a part of the team would be. Before we were sent off for our two weeks of work experience we had a presentation from our teacher on health and safety in the work place. It was just a simple presentation that did not go into much detail. I don’t think many students were aware of the dangers in and around their work place beforehand and it didn’t cross their minds.

I came into work on the first day via the underground and had arrived early to get a grasp of my surroundings. When I arrived at the building I was met by Rosie who gave me a health and safety induction. She took me around the building and showed me fire exits, extinguishers, smoking shelters and a meeting point in case of a fire; there was also a way of walking down the stairs safely to prevent injury, which is to have one hand free to grab the railings if needed.

This induction, which is the first I have received, made me feel safe in my workplace as I knew they were concerned about every member’s health and safety. I had spoken to a friend who had said that, in her work experience, they had sat in a room without supervision to watch a health and safety video, so there was no guarantee for the employer that they had taken in the information. In my opinion, that was not the right way to inform young people about the dangers in a workplace, especially one they are not familiar with.

Speak Up, Stay Safe is a great campaign to inform young people about the working environment and how to stay safe. Many young people use social networking such as facebook and twitter and this is a good way to get the message across. Although I think there needs to be more publicity as this is something young people would be interested to know about.

With the knowledge I received from other employees during the induction process, I have gained a better understanding of the British Safety Council and feel I am in an environment which cares for health and safety of the staff. Everyone has made me feel very welcome and knowing the fears of entering a working environment for the first time there is a great effort to make me feel welcome.

I have been told the right way to do a specific job and if I am unsure about something I can ask a member of staff to help. From finding out about the work of the British Safety Council and what they offer I will recommend my school to take part in the free level 1 health and safety qualification for future students who are going to undertake work experience.