This latest paper from Skillsroad suggests that the current challenges young people are facing may start “building a better and more resilient future.”
Why might they be suggesting that it could be an opportunity not a threat? Around 5,500 15 to 24 year-olds took part in the survey.
There’s good stuff and bad news stuff!
Skillsroad’s 2020 COVID-19 Youth Survey in May/June 2020 found that Australia’s youth employment has been hard hit by the pandemic, “with 42.3% of working respondents became unemployed or stood down because of COVID-19.” Mental health issues are also their biggest concern. They are ‘down but not out’, and so providing well-being and mental health support will be important, Skillsroad conclude. The paper provides links to stuff that parents, educators and employers can be doing to help.
But, “55% of youth are open to changing their plans if it means optimising career stability and future financial security” and “Youth who [have] reached out to others during the pandemic (volunteer work, helping neighbours etc.) are more likely to answer “yes” to the statement “the future looks bright to me.” So, as Skillsroad suggest, doing good probably does them good! And, again, the paper makes suggestions about what employers and educators could do and also provides access to some tools and resources to help.
In this apparently uncertain world nearly half of respondents said they want “career discussion started earlier in school”, while nearly 70% said they want more information about “the jobs of the future”. It’s not that this information is lacking out there though, Skillsroad suggests, it’s just that young people do not appear to be accessing this information “in any meaningful way.” So, it’s about understanding how they do, or more importantly don’t, get good information to help them with career choice and then working to improve the ways information is made available and presented. Skillsroad believe that improved communication and information about what the VET sector can offer is also really important. Again, this paper and their website provide resources and tools that parents, educators and employers can access to help here.
Skillsroad believes that more work needs to be done to overcome the gender-biased and often male-dominated makeup of many of the occupations for which VET is the major training source. We highlighted this in another article for this issue. Again, there are tools and resources for parents, educators and employers to access to help young people to consider a wider range of options.
Finally, the paper suggests that what is needed is to:
“Empower [young people] to make well thought-through decisions that will set them up for success and wellbeing, not just create more cogs in the wheel of the bottom line. Ultimately, taking care of our younger generations means taking care of the future of our world: in business, culture, society and everyday family life. It’s in our best interests to help them.”
Not a bad message, but also one we need to think about more broadly for an aging and changing Australian workforce!