With the UK COVID restrictions having eased, many employees are now returning back to their offices. As part of the ongoing post-pandemic recovery, a common focal point is about the future and how young people are integral to that.
People aged 11-19 are the next generation of talent and the pandemic is something that would have greatly affected their needs, hopes, wants and aspirations. To understand more about this, Speakers for Schools studied, through 3 YouGov surveys, what young people are thinking about their future, the percentage of young people who think politicians or employers understand their needs, hopes and aspirations well, and the hopes for the better. You can find out more of the findings here.
What Do Young People Think Can Restore their Career Goals Post Pandemic?
Speakers for Schools researched 2,000 young people, 100 politicians and 100 employers. In this survey, we see that young people, although they do not fully understand how the lockdown affects them, understand its impact on their learning channels. Therefore, youths are aware they need immediate solutions to move on.
Meanwhile, about 53 and 63 percent of young people believe that work experience can improve their confidence. To confirm this, the survey shows about 47-55 percent of setbacks emanate from not being able to access work experience.
UK Employees and Politicians Think they Know what Young People Really Need
Just when you think employers and politicians understand young people enough. Well, the survey shows that 91% of employers and 95% of politicians know that youths have been impacted by COVID.
About 67% of employees think they understand what aspiring youths need, their hopes and aspirations, but it turns out only 23% of young people are confident that employers know them at all. We learn from this research that the key setback is employers (66 per cent) who get data insight about youths from the wrong channels like family and friends, are not particular about what they know of young people.
Unlike employers, nearly 90% (87%) of politicians believe they know what young people need, their aspirations and hopes. Unfortunately, not more than 11% of young people agree that politicians know them well.
From this survey, we establish that the disconnect between young people and politicians emanates from the problem that about 84% to 86% of politicians learn about UK youngsters using traditional channels like their families, schools, constituents and friends. It seems politicians require more personalised channels to be able to lessen the gap and understand youths better.
What’s this VWEX Being Talked About?
Virtual work experience is an innovative way of work experience that involves remote ways of gaining a career-building and mending experience.
This innovation lets young people experience the workplace, enhance their skills, explore more job roles and improve their level of employability online. VWEX also involves the opportunities that allow young people to gain useful insight into what it means to have a career in a job role remotely.
What Virtual Work Experience Can Do to Young People
Youths are taking up virtual placements that could be the game-changer in the UK today. Why exactly do young people need VWEX apart from its advantage of flexible learning?
- Affordable or Free Placements
Lots of virtual work experience placements are either affordable or free. Employers who charge a fee are also considerate of the effects of COVID on finances and have adjusted to accommodate every child residing in the UK.
- Geographical Problem Solved
Traditional placements were a problem before now. However, with digital work experience, the barriers of geography have been expelled. Online work experience means more placement while eliminating the problems of geographical access. This development opens up more young people in the UK to several job experiences. More young people are exploring varieties of job experiences even though COVID has limited physical meetings.
- Soft Skill Acquisition Amidst Social Distancing
The new normal means reduced contacts. With young people having access to the internet, they can develop by participating in virtual work placements to build soft skills UK employers seek, including time management, leadership abilities, self-confidence, etc.
- Preparing for the Future
‘Virtual’ is ordinarily a term of the future, and VWEX is already initiating youths in what could be the most significant aspect of the future – virtualisation.
The Role of Government and Employers in Ensuring VWEX
At least 90 percent of politicians accept the proposal that the government can do even more to assist young people considering the pandemic impact. Employers are working out ways, typically through creating more placement points, and even non-profit organisations are encouraging the trend.
On the part of the government, UK rural areas need good internet connectivity to survive in the development towards a digital world. Young people in these areas are also affected, such that they are left out of VWEX. Thankfully, the government is making sure nobody misses out. It would be challenging for the UK to ensure gigabit connectivity in hard-to-reach areas, but the government is investing £5 billion of capital funding to ensure deployment in these areas.
A non-profit organisation like Speakers for Schools is setting the pace. Currently, they have networked at least 700 employers and work with nearly 4,000 state secondary schools and colleges. They have created more than 56,000 placements digitally and are looking to add to the number.
Virtual work experience brings about much more flexibility than conventional placements. In this regard, employers are able to upscale their outreach, which increases the number of placements they can offer. More young people get to develop with the expanding catchment areas across the UK.