Written on: 15 July 2021
Written by: Millie Bradley
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As we begin to ease into a somewhat normal life again, thousands of young people are picking up their plans and starting to think of the future.
Not knowing what steps to take after just finishing school or college is challenging enough - never mind throwing a pandemic into the mix. As an 18-year-old school leaver, my plans came to a standstill during the pandemic, and I’m sure many of yours have too. This got me thinking about an important question: where do we go from here?
Now is as good a time as any to write about this: World Youth Skills Day takes place on July 15th, hosted by the United Nations. The aim is to celebrate ‘the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.’ This year, the UN are focusing on the impact of the pandemic on young people globally, and will pay tribute to the resilience and creativity of youth throughout this crisis.
This is an important goal but what does it mean for us?
In the UK alone, the number of young people in employment fell by 8% during the first lockdown, while the Inactivity Rate – the percentage of 16-24 year olds not in the workforce – jumped to an all-time high of 41.3%.
As we exit lockdown, these figures are slowly but surely improving, with more young people getting back into work or full-time education as the year goes on. This is definitely a positive sign, however with the perception of limited jobs out there, it can sometimes feel like you are in competition with everyone else.
I think it’s important for us to remember that this period of uncertainty doesn’t define the rest of our lives. Things can only get better – and there are already some encouraging signs out there. There are many industries which have seen a multiplying demand for people to join their workforce.
By 2030, demand for higher-level skills, especially technology, will massively outstrip the current supply of talent – getting ahead of this demand could be a smart idea.
If entering the Digital and Tech industry has ever crossed your mind, there has been no time like the present! A tenth of all UK job vacancies are tech roles, alongside tech investment rising by 17% in 2020, and this is only estimated to grow further as we become more dependent on a digital life.
This growing demand gives the opportunity for many of us to get the chance to bounce back from the fall and leap into a new venture, in an area which we perhaps haven’t given great consideration before.
After concluding university is no longer an option for me, I really second-guessed myself as to whether this was the right decision – especially whilst seeing my friends getting ready to move away and begin their ‘uni life’.
However, once I looked into other ways to gain valuable qualifications, work experience, and earn a wage, I concluded that I wasn’t necessarily missing out on a competitive advantage by studying a degree.
I don’t think that apprenticeships are really talked about enough in school, but as an opportunity to get your foot in the door of the tech industry, there’s nothing quite like them.
An apprenticeship at Baltic gives you a direct route into the world of tech and digital skills, offering real work experience with the help and support of industry experts across the country. There are lots of specific career paths and specialisms to choose from, including IT, Software Development, Data Analytics and Digital Marketing.
Think back to the first lockdown: digital technologies were the solution to so many problems, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. Without digital tools, technologies, and the many professionals behind them all, we would have no way to work in our post pandemic life. And there could be no better way for you to crack the code, than to put it into practice every day.
Coming back to my original question: where do we go from here? For many of us, the answer is the digital sector. However, whatever pathway we choose for ourselves, as long as we have the support to explore opportunities, and develop in-demand skills for employment, we are all more than capable of living up to the UN’s belief in the creativity and resilience of youth.