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UK pilot hopes to jumpstart the jobless generation's digital future

Submitted by compassionatec… on June 21, 2016

Youth unemployment is at crisis levels around the world at the same time the digital skills gap is widening. That's why a pilot program underway in the UK that addresses both those challenges should be worth watching.

Hema Marshall, who is Head of Country Digitization and Skills for Cisco UK and Ireland, described the Pathway to Your Future pilot in a post on the Computer Business Review blog.

Marshall believes that with the need for technologically savvy workers not going away any time soon, there's never been a better time to use untapped creative minds. And there are lots of them. Globally she says some 300 million young people between 15 and 24 are not working and in the UK that number is nearly three quarters of a million. She refers to them as NEETs -- Not in Employment, Education or Training.

Image removed.The pilot that Council Lead Partner Cisco is partnering on with Living Networks, Job Centre Plus and Richmond College is aimed at 18-24 year old NEETs. It's designed to get them into the training they will need to step into the three million apprenticeship roles that the government intends to have available in the next few years.

Building confidence
Marshall explains the effort this way: "The scheme is focused on building confidence, driving a new talent pipeline and creating a sustainable skills training platform with the aim being that 100% of NEETs will find employment once the scheme is completed."

The aim of the 12-week pilot is in line with the government's agenda to provide unemployed youth with the life skills and aptitudes that enable employability and work-readiness.

The idea, Marshall says, is to get them beyond the stumbling blocks that may be preventing them from pursuing careers in the technology sector – which may be lack of training or it may be gender stereotypes that keep young women from pursuing careers in technology.

Better nurturing
There is a clear demand for more skilled digital workers across UK industry, but Marshall says there's also a need for better nurturing of young people to promote career success in any role.

"It is time organizations of all sizes get together," she writes, "to collaborate with the government and devise an education system supported adequately by the right choices and investments that helps the talent of tomorrow enter into a career today, and in doing so play a pivotal role in transforming our world."

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