How Upskilling and Digital Skills Can Help Lift Gen Z Out of Poverty

updated on 29 May 2024

Support your young people to futureproof their skills and escape the growing levels of poverty.

As a parent, teacher or career advisor, you play a vital role in helping young people to achieve their potential and fulfil their aspirations. You want them to have a bright and successful future, where they can pursue their passions and talents, and enjoy a good quality of life.

UK Poverty on the Rise

Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many young people in the UK today. Poverty is a serious and widespread problem that affects millions of people, especially children. According to a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, more than 1 in 5 people in the UK (22%) were in poverty in 2021/22 = 14.4 million people. This included 8.1 million working-age adults, 4.2 million children, and 2.1 million pensioners.

The report also shows that the poverty gap, which measures how far people in poverty are from the poverty line, has grown over time. This means that many people are not only in poverty, but also in deep or very deep poverty, making it harder for them to escape the cycle of hardship and deprivation.

One of the factors that contributes to poverty is the lack of skills that are needed for the modern labour market. This is especially true for Generation Z, the cohort of young people born between 1997 and 2012, who are now entering the workforce in full force. Gen Z are often seen as the “tech-savvy” generation who grew up online, but this does not necessarily mean they have the digital skills that employers want.

Lack of Skills Locks Them Out of High Valued Opportunities

survey by Pluralsight found that over a third (37%) of Gen Z do not think school is adequately preparing them to work in a digital-first world, and over half (56%) have never been educated in digital skills. It's no wonder then that a national survey of employer skill needs found that nearly 1 in 3 (30%) skills shortage vacancies are due to a lack of digital skills (DfE).

Education has simply not kept pace with the demand of industry and is not teaching your young people the hard digital skills employers actually need. This puts your Gen Z at a disadvantage when competing for jobs, specifically in the tech industry, which is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors in the economy.

By not teaching advanced digital skills in schools we are essentially locking our young people out of high valued roles in the most lucrative of economies. It is a decision that puts a ceiling on their career options and limits their earning potential.

Gemma Hallett

However, there is some hope for your Gen Z to overcome this skills gap and improve their chances of finding rewarding and well-paid careers, this involves taking responsibility for their own upskilling.

Here's 3 ways Gen Z can learn digital skills for more prosperous careers: 

1. Online Learning Platforms

These platforms offer a wide range of courses and topics that are relevant to the current and future job market, such as coding, data science, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. We are fans of microlearning content that can range from YouTube tutorials to Coding masterclasses; the most accessible, which allow young people to learn at their own pace, anytime and anywhere, often provide certificates or badges that can enhance their CVs and portfolios... and confidence!

As a parent, teacher or career advisor, you can encourage young people to explore these platforms, and help them to choose the courses that suit their interests and goals. Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we find and share the best ones daily on @miFutureSkills social channels.

🗞️ Blog: Why Gen Z Love On-Demand Bite-Sized Learning 

2. Coding Bootcamps/ Academies

These are intensive and immersive programs that teach the basics of programming and web development in a short period of time, usually between a few weeks and a few months. Coding bootcamps are designed to prepare learners for entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and often provide mentorship, career guidance, and job placement support. 

As a parent, teacher or career advisor, you can help young people to find and enrol in a coding bootcamp that matches their level and needs. Here's some we found and share:

🤩 CAVC Coding Academy (Full Time | 11 Weeks)

🤩 Technocamps Bootcamps (Various)| 

🤩 Coleg Cambria Bootcamps (Full Time | 1 Week)

3. Apprenticeships

These are work-based learning programs that combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, leading to a nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to earn while they learn, gain practical experience, and develop both technical and soft skills. Apprenticeships are available in various sectors and levels, including digital and IT.

As a parent, teacher or career advisor, you can help them understand and apply for an apprenticeship that suits their aspirations and abilities. 

🤩 UWTSD Digital Degree Apprenticeships

🤩 Find an Apprenticeship

🤩 Network 75 Degree Apprenticeships

High-valued Skills 🤝 Improved Labour Market Position 

Remember... Qualifications are not in high demand, skills are. High growth sectors don't need A* in Geography, History or PE, they need skills. Subjects are not in-demand, skills are. The demand for skills is outstripping supply, by developing the skills employers actually want, your Gen Z can improve their labour market position and secure more prosperous career opportunities. 

Some higher valued roles, in-demand and available in most sectors, are:

👩🏼‍💻Software Developer: A software developer is someone who creates, tests, and maintains software applications and systems. Software developers can work in various domains, such as web, mobile, gaming, and artificial intelligence. The average salary is £45,000 per year.

👩🏾‍💻Data Analyst: A data analyst is someone who collects, processes, and analyses data to generate insights and solutions for various problems and questions. Data analysts can work in various industries, such as finance, healthcare, education, and marketing. The average salary is £35,000 per year.

🧑🏻‍💻Digital Marketing : A digital marketeer is someone who plans, executes, and monitors the online marketing strategies and campaigns of a company or organisation. Digital marketing managers can work in various channels, such as social media, email, search engine, and content marketing. The average salary is £35,000 per year.

👨🏿‍💻UX Designer: A UX designer is someone who designs and improves the user experience of a product or service. UX designers can work in various platforms, such as websites, apps, and software. UX designers use research, prototyping, and testing to create user-friendly and engaging interfaces. The average salary is £40,000 per year.

👩🏻‍💻Product Manager: A product manager is someone who oversees the development and launch of a product or service. Product managers can work in various sectors, such as tech, e-commerce, and entertainment. Product managers use market research, customer feedback, and data analysis to define the vision, strategy, and roadmap of a product or service. The average salary is £50,000 per year.

These kinds of careers and job roles will exist across all industries, and can help young people to escape poverty by providing them with more income, security, and ongoing opportunities. They will also help them to develop transferable skills that can be applied to continue their career progression.

At miFuture, we are driven to create an upskilling culture that empowers young people to futureproof their careers, and we believe that every young person deserves a chance to thrive in the future of work - not matter their socio-economic background. That’s why we offer a future-fit opportunity to build skills, every day, through our social media channels. Whether your Gen Z wants to learn how to code, build, design, analyse, market, or start up, we have something for them.

Follow us today to start their upskilling journey with @miFutureSkills.

You've got this 😎✌🏻

Gem Hallett, miFuture Founder | @miFutureSkills

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