Emma Watson, Service Manager for FutureYou, advises on the skills you need to flourish at work.
The UK labour market has been particularly rocky over the last couple of years, which has impacted the availability of jobs, work placements and apprenticeships. During the pandemic when unemployment peaked, statistics showed that young people were amongst the worst people affected. According to The Guardian, people under the age of 35 accounted for 80% of jobs lost during the first year of the pandemic.
With many young people still struggling to get into employment, education, or training, it’s more important than ever to be equipped with the right skills. So, what are the key skills that you, as a young person, need to thrive in the workplace?
Strong written and verbal communication skills are needed in all jobs. Good communication does not only refer to how you present yourself and your ideas, but also your ability to listen to others and work well as part of a team.
One great way to develop your communication skills is through the National Citizen Service (NCS). To date, the programme has helped over half a million teenagers build skills for work and life, by taking on new challenges and making new friends. Many young people say their NCS experience has been instrumental in helping them to develop their communication and collaboration skills. Find out more about NCS.
“I enjoyed meeting new people and working together to accomplish tasks, I have never worked with such a diverse group to complete a set task, as well as presenting together because it made me feel more connected with others.” Lincoln City Foundation NCS Participant
Entrepreneurial skills aren’t just needed to start your own business - it’s about having a positive attitude, being motivated, and thinking outside the box. It’s important to use your own initiative. Building your confidence is key for this skill, sometimes an idea may seem silly, but it can grow and develop into a fantastic new opportunity. They all laughed at Edison for his lightbulb idea, but look at how much it has changed the world!
Being curious and asking lots of questions at work is vital for becoming a well-rounded employee and shows that you are interested and engaged. Remember that it’s better to ask a question rather than sit there and struggle because you don’t understand. As a young person in the workplace, you should try and soak up as much knowledge as possible from your more experienced colleagues and if your employer offers you the opportunity to do further training and development, go for it! This is why work placements and apprenticeships are great opportunities. Someone who consistently wants to develop and progress their skills is an asset to employers.
Employers want people to demonstrate an understanding of the marketplace and be able to apply this to a business. So, if you’re interviewing for a new role, make sure you’ve researched the industry that the company operates in and have thought about the bigger picture. You could also research their key competitors. The more you know about the company you’re applying for the easier it will be to answer questions about specific scenarios, and it will increase your understanding of the role. Securing a work placement or apprenticeship in the career field that you’re interested in is also a great way to learn more about it.
The world of work has evolved significantly over the last couple of years, and no one knows for sure how workplaces will change in years to come. Many companies introduced more remote working because of the pandemic, making it necessary for people to adapt and change how they work. Be agile and resilient by developing strategies on how to adjust to new situations and juggle multiple tasks. The more you work with others, the more situations you will have experience of, and this will help you adapt faster to any changes in your company or role. Take a look at our Able Futures service, which offers mental health support at work to help you develop some good approaches.
If you would like to find out more about Ingeus and how we can help you, visit our youth services section today or visit the National Careers Week website for more resources.