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10 November 2022

Preventing a lost generation – skills crisis brewing for UK’s digital future

85% of young people surveyed indicated they didn’t learn the skills at school which would be useful for today’s digital forward jobs. The&Partnership commissioned YouGov to survey 2,000 young people aged 16 to 24. The&Academy in Birmingham, launched by The&Partnership this September, will prepare more young people for the 21st century workplace leveraging partnerships with Meta, TikTok and Google. Backed by Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands.

The&Partnership partnered with YouGov to establish young people’s attitudes to skills training and further education. Set against the Government’s ambition to be a ‘global tech superpower’, the research revealed concerning evidence that young people are being underprepared for the UK’s growing digital jobs market.

It showed that:

  • 85% of young people surveyed in the UK feel they didn’t learn workplace skills for digital forward jobs such as computer office skills, knowledge of tech platforms, computer coding, financial skills, and employability skills, and wish they had a chance to learn it in school.
  • Almost half (45%) of young people are unaware of apprenticeship schemes that can train and arm them for digital jobs relevant today.
  • 42% feel that they were not equipped with workplace and employability skills during formal education.
  • The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has pushed one-in-three to say they are unlikely to pursue higher education.

The&Partnership has developed The&Academy, a new apprenticeship scheme, to address the growing talent crunch within the creative, digital and media fields. Leveraging partnerships with some of the best in the digital realm including Meta, TikTok and Google, The&Academy is set to shape the next generation of talent by providing them with skills crucial for the first step on the career ladder. The first centre of excellence in media and creative is situated in The&Academy’s purpose-built campus in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Birmingham and the wider West Midlands is alive with creative and entrepreneurial talent. The&Academy is well placed to tap into this energy and provides the sort of 21st Century opportunity our young people need to thrive in the world of work, enjoy a great quality of life and have compelling reasons to stay in our wonderful region. I look forward to watching the progress of the apprentices in the months and years ahead.”

Johnny Hornby, Founder and Chairman of The&Partnership said: “Work is changing and we know digital skills will be needed in the vast majority of jobs in the future*. This recent research gives us a real look into the psyche of young people as they navigate their career paths during turbulent times. There’s some worrying evidence that they are being let down in digital skills and I’m pleased The&Academy in Birmingham can start to address that.

“Our focus is on building the next generation of talent, empowering young apprentices from all backgrounds with critical skills spanning tech, data and digital for both the creative industries and the economy at large. This programme is what the UK, its young people and its businesses need right now. Digital skills are more important than ever and it is vital that we all play our part in enabling the next generation to thrive and help to drive a sustainable, inclusive economic recovery in the UK.”