Young people are not equipped for the modern workplace, we can do better
Young people, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are not being equipped for the world of work according to a new book by Abigail Melville, founder of Brixton social enterprise, We Rise. Whilst the modern workplace demands modern skills and attributes, meaning employees need to be creative, entrepreneurial and flexible, outdated systems of education force young people into compliance with linear thinking, exam skills and university.
We Rise has developed a pioneering and innovative approach to work experience to give young people the opportunity to develop skills for work that they are unlikely to learn from schooling. They focus support on those from disadvantaged backgrounds who are less likely to benefit from access to professional networks, inspiration and mentoring.
The Work Experience Revolution tells the story of We Rise explaining how they use imagination and collaboration to find new ways to give young people the exposure and experience they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world of work.
The book calls for:
- Opening up learning places – identifying more spaces where young people can collaborate and learn in professional working environments.
- (Re)discovering a mentoring habit – making sure every teenager has access to good quality sustained mentoring to help them develop their talent and build connections with the world of work.
- Creating opportunities for real work and platforms for young people to showcase their talent – providing more real world projects to give young people 21st century work experience.
“Young people are put under enormous pressure to “succeed” in a narrow range of academic skills. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds are particularly vulnerable as they are Many follow the path set out for them by their teachers, taking out student loans for higher education courses, and then finding themselves unable to access good jobs.
“We are revolutionising the way companies offer work experience to create opportunities for talented youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds to access high value modern careers.”
We Rise has built a reputation for delivering high quality research, consultation, film and social media projects that inspire young people to seek opportunities in careers they may not have thought of. Companies that have partnered with We Rise include ITV, the Crown Prosecution Service, Leo Burnett advertising agency, global research firm IPSOS and US telecommunications conglomerate Verizon. In addition, We Rise is now able to offer organisations access to the minds of Brixton’s brightest teenagers.
“As organisations struggle to change and adapt, we need to harness the insights of a generation that are comfortable with uncertainty, with connectivity, with technology. The teenage brain is at the peak of its creativity. They look at problems in fresh and insightful ways. They offer new ideas and new perspectives. We need to embed the development of young talent into our business culture.
“As we come out of the pandemic and reimagine our places of work this book offers a timely recipe for how to build opportunities for young diverse talent to learn and create. Planning projects that involve young people will bring energy, creativity and purpose into our places of work and help create workplace cultures where we can all thrive.”
Notes to editors:
- Abigail Melvile, founded We Rise in 2017 following a 25 year career in politics, public policy and local government (and a short spell as a secondary school teacher).
- We Rise was created in response to three questions:
- How do we prepare our children for a future of work that is changing so fast and we, as parents and teachers, don’t understand it ourselves?
- How can we overcome barriers of poverty, class and race to help young people thrive and succeed?
- How can people with social capital and connections share these opportunities with children other than their own?
Abigail can be reached on 07986 291 726