Children having fun on the ice

Tech and business leaders mark World Youth Skills Day by providing valuable insights on the importance of preparing the next generation for a changing skills landscape.

They stress the importance of proactive measures to bridge the skills gap and cultivate an environment that supports the growth and development of future talent.

Marni Baker Stein, Chief Content Officer at Coursera: “With the rapid rise of AI and ongoing economic instability intensifying uncertainty in the UK job market, it is more important than ever for young women to prioritise honing their skills to prepare for the workplace. Yet unfortunately, the current scenario is marked by declining investment, with Coursera’s Global Skill Report 2023, finding that the UK’s global skills proficiency ranking has fallen from 38th in 2022 to 64th in 2023. In this evolving landscape, a fresh approach to preparing young women for entering the workforce is imperative.

Coursera advocates for a skills-first, role-based approach — one that encourages an ethos of continuous learning, where young people can proactively upskill and reskill for specific in-demand job roles. To achieve this and overcome the skills crunch, the UK government, educational institutions and businesses must be cognisant that there is no singular path to success. Making use of the online learning resources available to them can help to provide young women with crucial skills – such as adaptability and risk management, as well as AI-related skills – all of which will be pivotal for success in the digital economy. As automation and digitalisation reshape the world of work, young women can be at the forefront.”

Mykhailo Dorokhov, Engineering Learning & Development Lead at Pipedrive: “New tech talent is a global imperative. The problems of tomorrow won’t be solved by the solutions of today. Programmes like World Youth Skills Day will help prepare society for the future. I mentor youth at an Estonian Codesters Club, to support digital development. Giving practical opportunities to youngsters really puts them at the heart of how the technology industry works – from product coding to product selling.

Such experiences offer a broad range of skills for the next generation to kick-start their creative learning. Pipedrive offers its own School of Code, offering young people a chance to uncover new horizons in software development. A major concept to share with pupils is that mistakes are fine, what’s important is to continuously learn and grow to keep up, and lead technology evolution.

World Youth Skills Day is a marker that reminds us that brighter outcomes start with a learning mind-set. It’s not hard for the technology industry to give back to the community, and to help it grow, seeding skills for new minds.”

Emmanuelle Benoliel, Chief Marketing Officer at Aircall: “Businesses can find coaching to be inefficient, costly and time-intensive, with 43% of SMB employees saying poor coaching materials, or a lack of them, is a major challenge. This disproportionately affects younger team members who are at the start of their careers and in need of additional support.

Over 7 in 10 (73%) SMB executives say they have a good understanding of AI and how it can benefit their business. This World Youth Skills Day should therefore be a wake-up call for leaders to educate themselves on the value of AI to support younger team members to develop key skills essential to their success.

Not only that but there is much to learn about how AI-supported coaching opportunities can empower women in their careers. With women typically suffering from imposter syndrome more than their male counterparts, AI-supported coaching is more flexible and accommodates those employees who are also caregivers, such as mothers. This can level the gender playing field, and help more women strive for leadership positions regardless of their person responsibilities.”

Nisha Kadaba, Senior Manager, Global Social Impact at PagerDuty: “Youth skills development is a core area for PagerDuty, and should be an important cause across the technology industry. Looking at the issue from a technology community perspective, the world does not have enough of many types of technologist, and yet the innovations and improvements society needs only come faster.

Organisations can easily find partners crying out for support with youth skills programmes. Yet aside from core technology skills, there are many other lessons successful industry execs can impart. For example, the importance of cultivating an impact mindset. Even in an era where AI is coming to the fore, each person’s skills and actions can make an impact if we plan to use them well.

The technology industry is making so much positive change, and so much disruption, that it also has a collective responsibility to make space for youth advancement. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s problem solvers. PagerDuty works with many organisations, including Techgirls Movement and Empowr Co, to support the positive changes we want to see in the world.”

Bukki Adedapo, UK Country Manager at Fiverr: “In today’s rapidly evolving world, where technological advancements and developments are shaping our workforce, investing in the skills development of young individuals is crucial for their personal growth as well as the growth of our global economies.

Skills shortages are particularly rife within the UK tech sector, with 46% of start-ups within technology citing hiring challenges and a shortfall of qualified employees as their two top concerns for this year. We must take advantage of the opportunities that exist to engage young people, by providing them with the necessary skills and resources that they will need to thrive later in life and contribute to bettering our planet.

As such, to facilitate the future growth of the UK workforce, we need to ensure we are doing all we can to provide young people with the tools they need to upskill for their future careers.”