Workplace skills for all

Young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and exposed to lower quality jobs, labour market inequality, and long and insecure school-to-work transitions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts.

July 15 is World Youth Skills Day, a United Nations initiative on the theme of “Skills Development to Improve Youth Employment” aimed at widening understanding as to what works to support young people in today’s and tomorrow’s labour market through training and skills development.

We think everyone needs to plan their career and ensure they maintain their employability. For young people good career advice and the ability to focus on continuous development are crucial.

Our young people are most employable when they have good general education and training, basic and transferable skills, including teamwork, problem-solving, information and communications technology and communication and language skills. In other words a skillset that allows them to adapt to the changing world of work.

Learning to learn

At 10Eighty we champion continuous learning and curiosity as key drivers for a successful career. Clearly training needs depend on career choice and sector but basic skills are something that our education system should focus on:

  • Good learning habits that empower one to plan and attain learning goals as autonomous learners in a workplace culture where lifelong learning is essential
  • Communication skills – effective listening, observation and literacy skills that facilitate interaction and networking and the ability to explain one’s ideas clearly
  • Teamwork is an obvious workplace skill in a culture where we all need to cooperate and collaborate
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills to assess information and situations in order to as to plan work and address challenges

Securing the right skills are important to our economy and, sadly, skills shortages have long been a problem for British industry and services. In a globalised economy employers seek candidates with good vocational and technical skills. A report by McKinsey (2012), collating survey data from nine countries, found that less than half of employers (43 per cent) were able to find the skills they needed in entry-level workers.

Learning agility

World_Youth_Skills_Day_2017The best way to acquire and build on good skills is while working. But not all employers are prepared to train their people. In an ideal workplace both individuals and organisational training systems would work on building skills for the future.

It’s smart to remember that we are only as relevant as our current skillset and have a responsibility to connect, share, communicate, and learn so as to be productive in career terms. An employee needs to be able to adapt to market demands and to be innovative in a competitive and rapidly evolving environment.

Learning agility is a crucial skill. Research suggests that “People who are learning agile: Seek out experiences to learn from; enjoy complex problems and challenges associated with new experiences because they have an interest in making sense of them; perform better because they incorporate new skills into their repertoire. A person who is learning agile has more lessons, more tools, and more solutions to draw on when faced with new business challenges.” (Hallenbeck et al, July 2011).

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