I read an article in The Telegraph a couple of weeks ago that raised an interesting question. The generation of young people that have just left school are our first digital natives to enter the workplace, having never known life before the Internet. But rather than employers finding themselves with a deluge of possible applicants for new job roles, they’re actually struggling to find people with the right skills.
The journalist purports that this issue is down to an antiquated school system that centres on word processing programs only, leaving teenagers to essentially teach themselves advanced skills the industry is shouting out for, such as coding, in their spare time.
There are some positive noises coming from the Government with education secretary Michael Gove promising an overhaul of the ICT curriculum, and importantly also training for teachers in using these tools. To support this, we ourselves have launched a series of free online courses, Adobe Generation, to help young people aged 14-19 develop the technology skills the industry is calling out for. Their teachers can even join so it’s a great training ground for them too. The courses cover three digital disciplines – Animation, Photo Imaging and Games Design – and give students the technical know-how they’ll need to work in each industry and an insight from professionals into what it’s really like in each field.
This shouldn’t take away from the need to refresh ICT lessons in schools. Traditionally, these classes have run in isolation to the rest of the syllabus. But this no longer meet the expectations of today’s employers as they do not equip young people with skills they will need when they enter the workplace. With the right framework and support from teachers, businesses will benefit as students will develop industry standard skills in preparation for the world of work.