Most school-leavers do not have digital skills for work

school kidsThe Government’s ambition for Britain to be a global tech superpower is under threat amid fresh evidence that young people are being underprepared for the UK’s growing digital jobs market.

According to a study by The&Partnership, carried out by YouGov, nearly nine out of ten (85%) young people feel they have not learned workplace skills for digital jobs such as computer office skills, knowledge of tech platforms, computer coding, financial skills, and employability skills, and wish they had a chance to learn it in school.

Meanwhile, almost half (45%) of young people are unaware of apprenticeship schemes that can train and arm them for digital jobs relevant today and 42% feel that they are not equipped with workplace and employability skills during formal education.

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has pushed one-in-three to say they are unlikely to pursue higher education.

The research has been published to support the launch of the new apprenticeship scheme, The&Academy, led by mSix&Partners, the agency network which is a joint venture between The&Partnership and GroupM, and designed to address the growing talent crunch within the creative, digital and media fields.

The launch of the scheme – first revealed in the summer – has seen partnerships struck with Meta, TikTok and Google. It aims to shape the next generation of talent by providing them with skills crucial for the first step on the career ladder.

The first centre of excellence in media and creative is situated in The&Academy’s purpose-built campus in Digbeth, Birmingham. It will be delivered by Multiverse and officially opened last month.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Birmingham and the wider West Midlands is alive with creative and entrepreneurial talent. The&Academy is well placed to tap into this energy and provides the sort of 21st Century opportunity our young people need to thrive in the world of work, enjoy a great quality of life and have compelling reasons to stay in our wonderful region. I look forward to watching the progress of the apprentices in the months and years ahead.”

The&Partnership founder and chairman Johnny Hornby added: “Work is changing and we know digital skills will be needed in the vast majority of jobs in the future. This recent research gives us a real look into the psyche of young people as they navigate their career paths during turbulent times.

“There’s some worrying evidence that they are being let down in digital skills and I’m pleased The&Academy in Birmingham can start to address that.

“Our focus is on building the next generation of talent, empowering young apprentices from all backgrounds with critical skills spanning tech, data and digital for both the creative industries and the economy at large.

“This programme is what the UK, its young people and its businesses need right now. Digital skills are more important than ever and it is vital that we all play our part in enabling the next generation to thrive and help to drive a sustainable, inclusive economic recovery in the UK.”

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