Business leaders join forces to help the rising number of young people not in employment or education

Business leaders join forces to help the rising number of young people not in employment or education

Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has todayannounced Steven Cooper CBE, Chief Executive of Aldermore Group, as the new Chair of BITC’s Employment and Skills Leadership Team.  

Under Steven’s leadership, the Employment and Skills Leadership Team will focus on working with business leaders to break down the barriers that disadvantaged young people and jobseekers face. Steven takes over from Jon Lewis, CEO of Capita, who has been the Chair of the Leadership team since 2020.  

Steven’s appointment comes as figures released by the Office for National Statistics in August showed that there are now 84,000 more 16–24-year-olds than there were last year who are not in employment, education, or training (NEET), totalling 749,000 from April to June 2023. This means that across the UK, among 16–24-year-olds, one in 10 are NEET.  

Aldermore Group, which has been led by Steven since 2021, provides finance to business owners, homeowners, and landlords, and supports savers. It helps champion equality by supporting those that the big traditional banks can’t or won’t help.    

Steven Cooper CBE, Chief Executive of Aldermore Group,said:   

“I’m excited to lead BITC’s Employment and Skills Leadership Team, continuing Jon’s great work. It’s crucial for business leaders to join forces and ensure everyone has the skills they need to find employment. I have a real passion for promoting social mobility and so I’m looking forward to working with the Leadership Team on creating ways that employers can support people to develop valuable skills and supporting job seekers who face challenges in finding good work.” 

Mary Macleod, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, said:   

“The number of young people not in employment, education, or training shows the importance of business leaders working together to support young people’s transition into the world of work. Collective action is key to ensure that young people from all walks of life have the confidence, skills, and access to the best opportunities for work to achieve real social mobility. I know Steven will continue the brilliant work done under Jon’s leadership and work with business leaders across the country to ensure everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and no one gets left behind. Everyone is important to creating growth in the UK economy and I would encourage all businesses to be part of contributing to this change.”    


Notes to editor  

  1. Young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET), UK: August 2023 Office for National Statistics 
  2. While the rates have improved since 2011, when two in 10 young people were NEET, the number is increasing. Even though data shows that since 2013, there has been a steady decrease in the number of young people NEET, this downward trend has been on the up since 2021, when the rate was at its lowest since 2010 at 9%. Today, 10.9% of young people are NEET.
  3. About BITC’s Employment and Skills Leadership Team
  4. About Steven Cooper – Steven Cooper CBE is the CEO of Aldermore Group, a leading specialist lending and savings bank. Previously, Steven was CEO of C.Hoare & Co and prior to that a Senior Executive at Barclays where he held a number of executive positions including CEO of Personal Banking for UK & Europe and CEO UK Business Banking. Steven is Chair of Experian UK, a NED of the recruitment firm Robert Walters PLC, and he was a Co-Chair of the Social Mobility Commission until 2021. He is a passionate advocate for social mobility; he is a regular speaker and media commentator on the issue and has recently joined forces with former Cabinet Minister Justine Greening to form the Equality of Opportunity Coalition. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Herriot Watt University and made a Commander of the British Empire – both for services to Banking and Social Mobility. 

For further information, please contact Aoife Butler Nolan, Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy on 07702 903 216.