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How to prepare the workforce of tomorrow

10 Aug 2022

Hays’ Karen Young discusses the importance of upskilling those entering the workforce and how best to offer support.

It’s firmly in the interest of organisations to ensure that those entering employment are equipped with the required skills and that opportunities are afforded to them.

However, in a recent poll run by Hays on LinkedIn, 69pc of more than 17,000 respondents said that young people don’t have the necessary skills to enter the world of work. What are the obstacles to this?

Elsewhere, we also asked what is preventing young people from gaining the necessary skills to secure employment. Almost half (45pc) of the 12,500 respondents claimed that a lack of relevant opportunities was the main barrier to achieving this, while 28pc of respondents believed that careers and skills insights were not readily available. How can we change this?

Developing skills while in education

The pandemic has not only had a hugely negative impact on those in education, but also on their work experience opportunities. Many young people have missed out on a previously conventional introduction to the working world, while organisations are still discovering how to operate in the new era of work, which in turn makes it harder to integrate newcomers.

Hays works closely with Manchester City Football Club on their City in the Community programme. It has recently been involved with workshops for students at a college in Greater Manchester, profiling careers in sustainability and the green economy and the capabilities that employers require for these types of roles. This helps to provide young people with invaluable skills and experience to prepare them for the world of work.

Businesses too can play their part. By working with educators, it’s possible to reshape the curriculum so that it is relevant for the post-pandemic era. Business leaders must take responsibility for this. After all, they are uniquely placed to share their guidance so that students understand which skills are in demand and how they might develop these.

Offering additional support once in work

What about those young people who have already started in the world of work?

It’s important to consider that these people will require help and opportunities to develop – that way, everybody benefits. Making sure that you invest in junior employees’ growth is key if we are to close the skills gap and prepare the workforce of tomorrow for the new era of work.

What opportunities are available within your organisation? How much hands-on experience do you provide to your entry-level staff? Do you offer mentoring and coaching?

It’s important to consider not only those skills you can offer to these employees, but those that they offer to you. To further ensure that everybody benefits, some organisations implement a two-way mentorship scheme in which senior and junior colleagues train one another with relevant skills and knowledge.

This boosts these employees’ confidence in two ways: firstly, by allowing them to develop useful skills; and secondly, by proving that their current skillset and experience is of real value to yourself and others.

If organisations want to reap the rewards of our future pipeline of talent, they must take responsibility for adequately preparing young people for the working world and nurturing them on arrival. Failing to do so risks missing out on the skills and knowledge that these people have, which are becoming increasingly valuable and relevant in the digital age.

By Karen Young

Karen Young is a director and recruiting expert at Hays UK and Ireland. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.

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