This has not been the spring / summer that anyone expected. When the coronavirus crisis turned the world upside-down, we, like everyone else, asked: “How can we help?”

We knew we couldn’t create a vaccine or make hand sanitizer. But we could unite the UK’s best employers of young people and help them to work together to navigate the many challenges they faced, as the crisis threatened everyone’s carefully-laid plans for hiring young people this year (including apprentices, interns and graduates).

How could early careers redesign their plans quickly and efficiently, while staying true to the high standards and strong values they had worked so hard to build in recent years? How should responsible early careers teams continue with their work during a pandemic, amidst such turmoil and uncertainty?

Without knowing the answers to any of these questions, by April we had moved the Club online, creating a new format of virtual ‘coffee morning’ Zoom calls. Each employer sent one or two team members to represent their organisation, and we facilitated discussion between them.

Right from the first call – which, to be honest, was more like a big, early careers ‘group hug’! – it was clear that these meetings contained magic. While nobody had all the answers (How could they?) and our members had almost as many questions as the young people they were trying to assess / interview / hire (seriously, so many questions!), we realised fast that everyone had part of the answer, and a few solutions that were showing early signs of success. When multiplied, it turned out we actually had a lot of ideas and insights between us.

Once we realised that, there was no stopping the Good + Fair Employers Club. We quickly created a calendar of summer sessions covering May, June and July. Every three weeks, our Club Members sat down with a cup of coffee and put our heads together to discuss a different topic (see flyers below). After each session, a summary was produced and circulated to all Club Members.

Noting the success of the Good + Fair Employers Club this summer, its founder Tanya de Grunwald said:

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all our Club Members for throwing yourselves into our summer sessions. This has not been the year that any of us imagined, and we know that all our Club Members continue to face tough decisions and big challenges in the months ahead.

“While we know that nobody has all the answers, it’s clear that putting our heads together and sharing what we do know is the way forward. We have been struck by your instinct to collaborate with one another, and touched by your insistence that your firms’ values must not be abandoned just because things are tough right now. For example, diversity and inclusion has been discussed at every coffee morning session we have hosted.

“As we move into the autumn and winter, we will continue to provide innovative forums for our brilliant Club Members to continue to collaborate and discuss the issues that matter the most.”