Developing the Young Workforce, Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, has strong roots in how industry and education work collaboratively to nurture Scotland’s future workforce. Yet, as we embark on a new academic term, laced with ‘new normal’ in the water, we are becoming familiar with yet so much unchartered territory; how do we continue this collaboration so when the time is right for you to invest in the ‘hiring’ the investment now in informing and inspiring offers you a talent pipeline of industry ready young people?
We cannot let go of the need for contact time and real experiences, the human element of our future of work is vital. Yet it seems, like many other aspects of our working world just now, going virtual is the way to keep industry and education connected so our young people today can build awareness and capacity to compete in the labour market of tomorrow.
With research highlighting each industry encounter a young person has increases their likelihood of progressing into something positive after education and their earning potential, the importance of this collaboration to continue is clear especially for those who face additional challenges on entering the world of work for whom the current situation is amplified.
We are already seeing some great practice emerging locally and nationally. We are currently working with a group of financial sector firms to map virtual talks from industry to the business and foundation apprenticeship curriculum. To support young people to build industry readiness we have volunteers offering time to review CVs and take part in virtual mock interviews. Whilst profiling pathways we have speakers from industry highlighting pathways they recruit from and what skills and attributes they look for.
What about work placements? Can something that has always been so tangible for young people have the same impact at a distance and virtual? Having an experience of the world of work gives young people the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of an industry area, an organisation, a role and activities within that role. Alongside this the experience brings them face to face with the organisations’ team members and sometimes customers. Most of these aspects can be achieved at a distance and virtually with some creativity and will to get involved. Setting projects for groups of young people can be one way to achieve this. Do you have a problem to solve? Do you have some research that needs carrying out? Would you like feedback on your website or online presence? All of these and more could be packaged up to support young people to get their teeth into a real work situation, opening up an experience for them to get industry ready.
The DYW team are working on innovative ways to keep the connection between industry and education alive and we are keen to hear from businesses who have time just now to get involved, simply offering an hour can help or getting involved in development activity – there is something for everyone. Do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.