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How to encourage young people into tech careers

The younger generation are growing up in an era where technology is king. Their everyday lives are surrounded by all manner of devices such as phones, tablets and computers that are all designed to offer entertainment, easy communication and access to a vast array of information.

As most of our children are technically proficient – and even toddlers seem to know their way around an iPad these days – it stands to reason that there’d be a healthy influx of candidates for careers in that field.

And given that technology has experienced such a major boom over the last quarter of a century, you’d expect plenty who are now in their late teens and early 20s to be flooding into the industry.

However, it seems that the reality is quite different, so what can we do to encourage more young people into tech careers?

 

The problem: A shortage of digital skills

It’s believed that tech expertise is going to be crucial to the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, but the numbers paint a concerning picture. According to data from The Learning Work & Institute, students taking IT at GCSE level has dropped 40% in the past six years.

The research also suggests that only half of employers are able to offer digital skills training on the job. Combined with a surge in demand for technological expertise, it’s an issue that’s close to reaching crisis point.

 

The solutions: What are they?

  1. A greater importance should be placed on tech-focused subjects within the curriculum. The likes of IT and graphic design can teach children the basic skills from an early age, and in order for that to work properly schools needs to invest in personal computer kits to help their students get to grips with the hardware as well as the software.
  2. Many assume that a tech-based career means solely working in IT systems, but that is not the case. Technology is such a fundamental part of modern life that it feeds into all manner of industries, such as hospitality, marketing and healthcare. Students need to be made aware that honing their digital skills can open up doors to a wide range of sectors.
  3. The younger generation are more likely to be inspired if they have a role model to look up to. Schools can bring in those who have made successful careers in tech, allowing them to speak to the students about their experiences and answer any questions they may have.
  4. Tech companies can also think about building partnership with schools in their local area. This will enable them to develop a long-standing relationship and could encourage students to take the appropriate qualifications with a view to being considered for entry-level positions when they leave education.