World Youth Skills Day: Tips on how we can support the next generation
As we celebrated World Youth Skills Day earlier this month (15th July) - the annual celebration of the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment and entrepreneurship as they begin their career journey, we wanted to highlight some tips from business leaders on how we can support the next generation as they enter the workforce.
Ronan Copeland, Group Vice President & General Manager EMEA at DocuSign
“Acute hiring challenges have left businesses jostling for the next crop of young talent. 23% of UK employers will hire school leavers as a solution to the skills shortage, making young talent more desirable than ever. As young people make their first steps into their careers, whether it be school leavers or graduates, they will more than likely sign their first contracts digitally. As a generational first, it’s important that businesses have the right tools in place, ready to welcome young people into the workplace.
What’s more, future generations will be immersed in the anywhere economy and, with the rise of digital nomads and remote work, it’s even more crucial for them to be able to complete digital transactions with ease. Companies that still don’t offer e-signature software are lagging behind today’s generation of digitally-minded workers. A piece of paper shouldn’t hinder people's job prospects.
Keeping up with generational demands, DocuSign leads in offering an augmented digital contract solution whereby job offers, tax forms, and any other documents that require a signature can be signed and sent instantaneously from a mobile device.”
Shelley Eades, Senior Director of Human Resource at Zebra Technologies
“The skills and insights of the next generation of workers will play a vital role in driving forward workplace invention and innovation today and in the future — from retail to manufacturing, healthcare to technology. The impacts of a global pandemic and changing attitudes to work mean it’s even more important to nurture talent. This year Zebra Technologies launched a new collaboration with a careers-focused charity and local schools, giving students useful and interesting experiences around how technology is changing the working landscape, and what the future of work could look it – thanks to their contributions.”
Annette Reavis, Chief People Officer, Envoy
“We learn best by observing others - and shadowing those that are the best at what they do.
That’s why internships and opportunities to learn on the job are essential when we talk about shepherding and inspiring the next generation.
I’m also a believer in coaching and mentorship. It helps younger people make connections and gives them the opportunity to have deeper conversations about what they’d like to do. We often think of mentors in a strictly professional setting. But they can be teachers, family friends, or anyone who is a good listener and encourager. Anyone who can help a young person see future possibilities. Having early conversations about work and career, however informal, will equip them to make better, more thoughtful decisions later.”
Jonathan Anguelov, Co-founder of Aircall
“As drivers of the future of work, it’s our responsibility to embrace future talent and provide opportunities for mentoring and coaching. Only then can we accommodate a new generation of workers, the strength of whose diverse backgrounds I have always believed can unlock creativity and potential in the workplace.
They’re capable of enriching customer interactions with the latest insights, trends and perspectives; ones that keep us connected to, and inclusive of, ever-changing and increasingly diverse customer expectations.
The younger generation needs to know who to look up to, according to their personal values.As the war for talent grows more competitive, businesses need to create a better working environment providing this sense of value, belonging, and fostering a safe place for all. . Workers no longer want a 9-5 – they want purpose and autonomy, and need the tools for both. How do we manage this in a hybrid world? Well, technology, partly. Because it ensures young talent remains empowered. However and wherever people work – our culture remains consistent.
These are all policies we should encourage year-round, but World Youth Skills Day allows a moment to celebrate the next generation of disruptors and lay the groundwork for the future.”
Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer, ThoughtSpot
“Picture it: a major labour shortage has created travel chaos. Some passengers and crew unexpectedly need a hotel; others will sleep on the floor or the stairs. However, the airline has a super power: an analytics engineer. Rather than disgruntled passengers fighting queues, the analytics engineer has created a new data pipeline, providing passengers and crew with provisional hotel bookings.
“The digital economy is the economy and it’s clear we have entered the defining decade of data. Data and analytics is opening new ways of solving problems. From travel to healthcare, education to retail, the world is ruled by those who can dominate with data. It’s not just a competitive advantage, but rather the key to business success in today’s digital world. And yet, the World Economic Forum has identified the top three jobs growing in demand where we do not have enough workers are all data related.
“To futureproof the labour market, it is critical businesses, governments and academic institutions encourage young people to adopt the high-demand data skills necessary to build a competitive workforce. Grow internal talent, sponsor or mentor — encouraging younger generations will pay dividends in building a more equitable world. ”
Jean-Philipe LeBlanc, Senior VP of Engineering, CircleCI
“World Youth Skills Day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of equipping young people with the education and skills needed for employment across all sectors. The world of software today is so complex that tech leaders must give time and space for up and coming engineers to learn new skills and specialisations. I held a number of roles unrelated to tech — from truck driver to call centre operator - and left school without a college degree, but I now work as SVP of Engineering without ever holding the title of software engineer. While it’s not necessarily a path I’d recommend to follow, it illustrates that engineers can achieve anything in this industry by continuously learning new skills.
It’s up to business leaders to ensure opportunities for learning and development are made possible. What could organisations accomplish with engineers who are continuously learning, iterating, and improving? The possibilities to grow the next generation of developers are endless.”
Michele Romanow, Co-founder and CEO at Clearco
“In a rapidly evolving job market and economy, the way we think about youth skills needs to change. England is one of the few places in Europe that has yet to develop a strategy for entrepreneurship in schools. Yet, to help set young people up with the skills and competencies that are both desired by employers and essential to the next generation of entrepreneurs - we must look beyond traditional education and offer young people the opportunity to learn skills including entrepreneurship.
This kind of learning at school-age is also essential for creating a level playing field in the future job market and economy. This week, the WEF announced that it will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap. Young people of all genders, backgrounds and ethnicities must be given the ability to pursue their career and entrepreneurial goals.
As leaders, it’s our responsibility to share our learnings and help to nurture the next generation of future leaders. As 1 of only 23 female founders of a unicorn fintech company, I’m conscious of my role to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and in particular, give young women the confidence they need to succeed.”
Bill Richards, Managing Director, UK, at global jobsite Indeed
“In May, there were more job vacancies in the UK than unemployed people, a never before seen statistic until earlier this year. This is causing businesses across industries that are facing acute hiring challenges to look to new ways to recruit fresh talent. While recruitment must always be guided by skills demanded by the role, employers should also be open to thinking outside the box when looking to fill vacancies.
Young people can be the breath of fresh air that many struggling industries need. What they lack in workplace experience, they make up for with a host of soft skills. Building diverse workforces is conducive to performance - diversification in age is no exemption. Businesses will do well to remember the unique outlook and desire to learn that many young people can bring to the workplace.
The next generation of workers were dealt a bad hand by the pandemic, as stop-start lockdowns destabilised education and career progression. But now they could be an important part of relieving widespread worker shortages across the UK.”
Anthony Tattersall, Vice President Enterprise, EMEA, Coursera
“This year, World Youth Skills Day comes at a critical time for British young people. Coursera’s most recent Global Skills Report found that the UK ranks 24th out of 33 European nations for technology skills proficiency, suggesting that our young people are currently at risk of being left unprepared to thrive in the digital economy, which is projected to add another 124 million jobs globally over the next three years.
It is in this context that a new approach to preparing young people for the world of work is required. Coursera advocates for a skills-first, role-based approach — one that encourages an ethos of continuous learning, where young people can proactively upskill and reskill for specific in-demand job roles. From automation to digitalisation, as the world of work evolves, so can they.
However, our outlook for young people is an optimistic one. British employers and educational institutions can make use of the online learning resources available to them to provide young people with crucial contemporary skills — security engineering, software engineering, and computer programming — at unprecedented speed and scale. All of these skills will be pivotal for success in the digital economy, yet UK performance is currency rated as ‘lagging’ for all. Also key will be offering young people the flexibility, equity and accessibility offered by remote learning, combined with the unique, serendipitous teaching moments that arise when people can meet face-to-face. That’s the challenge — and that’s the future.”
Mykhailo Dorokhov, Engineering Learning & Development lead at Pipedrive
“World Youth Skills Day is a celebration of how important it is to equip the youth of today with the necessary skills for employment and personal satisfaction. At Pipedrive, our Summer School of Code is a unique learning experience for people who have thought about a career in IT but have not had the chance to take the fundamental steps to start it. The main goal of any internship and mentoring programme should be to create an efficient and focused learning environment that provides participants with the opportunity to gain practical experience. It is vital that organisations offer opportunities for hands-on experience that increases participant knowledge and allows them to make mistakes throughout the process to really learn from them.”
Peggy De Lange, VP of International Expansion at Fiverr
“World Youth Skills Day 2022 is all about transforming youth skills to support future generations. This is even more important amid the concerning backdrop of rising levels of poverty following the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As business leaders, we need to offer the next generation a leg-up to help equip them with the right skills for employment and entrepreneurship. Now, there are more opportunities than ever to explore different types of career paths. The rise of the self-employment sector and the creator economy in particular has given people more options when exploring what career path to pursue. Whatsmore, the emergence of the anywhere working economy means that workers can have more autonomy over how and from where they work. On our Fiverr platform, we’ve seen a multitude of creative ways in which people are building careers.
We need to empower the younger generation to explore any career path they’re passionate about and not shy away from offering more non-traditional routes such as freelancing. Our job is to support and inspire young people and, in the process, hopefully create an army of entrepreneurs and future leaders.”
Jessica Lindl, Vice President of Social Impact at Unity
“At Unity, we believe the world is a better place with more creators in it. World Youth Skills Day highlights the importance of ensuring education is accessible to all, regardless of postcode. Every student should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
As we all know, there has been a major shift not only in the global labor market but also in how we work. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to connect young people with the skills needed for future jobs, as these help chart a clear path from learning to earning opportunities.
Unity is committed to inspiring and equipping creators, from diverse backgrounds, to create the future with the power of real-time 3D technology. We partner with schools and nonprofits to provide free access to learning and prepare learners for high-growth jobs. Unity has equipped over 600,000 students and educators with resources to propel real-time 3D learning to date.”
Creators are changemakers, and Unity is their platform for making an impact. People around the globe are using Unity to tell stories or build tools that will have a positive and meaningful impact on society, their communities, and the planet.
Change happens when all voices are heard. That’s why Unity is investing time, money, and resources into making Unity education more accessible, creating economic opportunities for underrepresented creators, and maximising the impact that their work has on local communities and the world.”
Darren Guccione - CEO and co-founder of Keeper Security
“Organisations worldwide are accelerating investment in cyber security solutions, with research suggesting that identity and access management spending will rise from an expected $16 billion this year to $26 billion in 2027. And yet a large talent gap remains. Our own research revealed that 59% of IT decision makers in the UK believe the skills shortage is impacting the cybersecurity efforts in their organisation.
World Youth Skills Day serves as a great reminder of the role young people can play in bridging this skills gap. Education is key to this and, here at Keeper Security, we firmly believe that internship programmes are critical to helping maintain a proactive security posture and addressing long-term security needs. We recommend targeting these programmes at college age students, like we do with our own 12-week initiative that runs each summer, to ensure the next generation of experts gain first-hand knowledge of state-of-the-art cybersecurity technologies, common industry challenges, and the problems likely to impact organisations in the future.