If you ask any business leader about the long-term challenges facing their organisation, the likelihood is that putting in place the right talent for the future will be high on the list. Yet all too often we hear of a mismatch between employers and young people starting out on their careers.
Just last week , a report by the think tank IPPR found that many companies were struggling to fill entry-level vacancies, highlighting a shortage of ‘employability skills’, like teamwork, problem solving and communication. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has put it more bluntly: “Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus.”
This is a problem that the UK needs to fix if we are to remain competitive in an increasingly global marketplace. But businesses cannot expect schools and colleges to do all the work. We need to commit our time and resources to help too. In particular, that means engaging with young people early to make sure that they are building skills and gaining an understanding of the world of work.
At Sky, we wanted to use the re-development of our campus in West London as an opportunity to do our bit and open up to the community. Today we will open Sky Academy Careers Lab, a new full-day careers experience for 16-19 year olds. Starting today with a group of students from Lampton School in Hounslow, around 100 young people a week will come to Sky to take part in practical workplace challenges and learn about careers in media and technology. Sky Academy Careers Lab is one of a series of initiatives that form part of Sky Academy, all of which are aimed at helping young people to build skills and experience.
It is particularly important for the media and technology industry that we bridge the digital skills gap. In the 25 years since Sky began broadcasting, the technological landscape and the service we offer to customers have changed almost beyond recognition. With more programmes being streamed or watched on the go on smartphones and tablets, software development and other specialist technical skills are increasingly important. We need people who can create the products and services that our customers are going to want in the future. As an industry, we must work with young people to make both their own careers and the UK creative industries flourish.
We think exposure to the workplace through work experience or schemes such as Sky Academy Careers Lab should be a part of any young person’s education. This is why we are aiming to create opportunities through Sky Academy for one million young people to gain skills and experience by 2020.
This is an exciting time for our industry and we can offer young people great careers. We just need to make sure they are ready to seize those opportunities.
VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work
environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your
diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email
[email protected] for more information.
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Moutaz Alrayes, Graduate CDM Associate at CityFibre.
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