News - 09 March 2022

NCW22 Blog: A time of great opportunity for young people

Fiona Baker is D2N2 LEP’s Head of People and Skills, responsible for leading, developing and managing the implementation of all aspects of the ‘People and Skills’ strategy and work programme and delivery of the education, skills, careers, employment and inclusion priorities of D2N2’s Recovery and Growth Strategy.

We asked Fiona to share her thoughts on why National Careers Week is important to the landscape for young people.

National Careers Week each year offers an opportunity to focus on a huge range of careers across many types of industry. It can seem that the future of work is changing constantly, and our D2N2 LEP focus on low carbon and digital technologies is at the heart of these changes.

The pace of change is unprecedented, and therein lies a key issue which makes initiatives like national careers week so important in dispelling some of the myths around the future of work.

It has never been more important that young people are able to explore what it is really like to work in a distribution hub, an advanced engineering facility, in a residential care setting or on a construction site. All too often, young people’s views on the prospects and reality of working in different industries are shaped by their parents, teachers and peers, who may themselves have an outdated and inaccurate picture. The advent of digital technologies, whilst removing some heavily repetitive job roles, has also opened up huge potential for new job roles, with titles that are unfamiliar to us such as vertical farmers, haptic programmers or waste data handlers.

Whilst automation will change some job roles, the fastest growing occupations will still require higher level cognitive skills in areas like problem solving, creativity, critical thinking and communication. In many respects, this is a time of great opportunity for young people, as long as they are able to explore and understand the different opportunities available to them and what they need to do to take the next best step to their career of choice.

Our START in D2N2 platform is a great starting point for finding out about what is available locally, but there is also a huge range of careers guidance, information and support available during National Careers Week, much of it developed in partnership with employers.

The notion of partnership is important, for employers to develop a future pipeline of motivated and resilient young people, they must work with our schools, colleges and universities to promote the careers in their sectors and nurture future talent. In D2N2 our Cornerstone Employers are doing just this, building links to education and opening their doors to future employees to give them a real understanding of what the future could hold.

Through the D2N2 LEP Careers Hub, businesses and individuals can volunteer in a variety of roles and programmes, to work with education providers and have a direct impact on the careers opportunities available to young people in their area. Every role is rewarding and provides a unique opportunity to nurture future talent for your business. For more information, contact hubs@d2n2lep.org.

Fiona’s career is firmly rooted in training and education, including management roles at the Learning and Skills Council managing programmes including Investors in People, Train to Gain and Apprenticeships and in then in Further Education Colleges.

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