From education to employment

Breaking into The Digital Sector: The Skills That Young People Need

The digital sector is known for its constant change and revolutionary innovations — you can’t sit still or you’ll find yourself being left behind. Breaking out in this industry can be difficult, with young people thinking twice about going to university and complying with the traditional teaching methods that are notoriously present within the current educational structure.

This article that discusses the importance of upskilling young people in this sector to help prepare them for what real businesses would expect from them.

The creative sector in the UK

Over the past few years, the amount of money the creative sector has contributed to the British economy has been on the rise — with figures at £85 billion in 2015 and £92 billion in 2016. This just shows that the industry is progressing at a rapid rate and now accounts for over 5% of the wider economy here in Britain.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport — otherwise known as DCMS has stated that the creative sector here in Britain is growing at four times the rate of the country’s overall workforce. The number of creative jobs soared in 2016 increasing by a total of 5% compared to the wider UK workforce that only increased by 1.2%. However, including creative positions in other industries across the UK – this rise equated to 5.1%.

With this news, one in eight businesses in the UK are labelled as ‘creative companies’ — that’s over 284,000 businesses that employ over 3.04 million workers. This represents a positive +5% year on year growth.

The same source suggested that in 2016, there were 912,000 non-creative support jobs within the same industry. However, this figure was succeeded by the 1,047,000 creative occupations within the industry. Although the figures that are accounting for the sector seem high, there were also a reported 1,076,000 creative jobs outside of the sector.

However, with plenty of jobs across the sector there has undoubtedly been a regional split to where the work is. The area with the most employment is London, accounting for 32% of the jobs – then the South East taking second place with 16%. This was soon followed by the South West and East of England both occupying 8%. The North West and Scotland employ 7% with the West Midlands only representing 6%.

Both the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber hold 5% of creative jobs in the UK.

Poorly positioned is Wales with 3%, the North East with 2% and Northern Ireland with 1%.

The British parliament have been questioned on the creative several times, and how it has influenced the way modern-day Britain operates. When prompted with the statement: “The UK creative industries are vitally important to the positive perceptions of UK plc/Brand Britain internationally”, 48% strongly agreed. Although this was an excellent majority, 42% agreed and 6% neither agreed nor disagreed on the topic. 2% disagreed and another 2% strongly disagreed. This shows that there is a problematic opinion from those in power in on the sector – but with the progress made, that is expected to change.

What jobs are available in the creative sector?

The countless jobs that make up the creative sector all have a positive impact on the industry as a whole — and there are plenty of opportunities for young people to make their break. The UK creative industries split say that those who develop IT, Software and Games are valued at £34.7m according to figures from 2016.

It’s important to understand that we need to begin equipping the next generation with the skills they need to meet consumer requirements – especially with an estimated 197 billion apps downloaded in 2017. This includes knowledge on how apps work, the purpose of them and how to enhance the user experience to ensure that they are retained for a lengthy course.

As users are presented with new methods to watch TV and film productions, this industry has a worth of £15.3m and is expected to increase over the next few years. We need to be moving young people away from learning traditional methods of production and take a focus on new areas. Posing the question – should we start conforming and become more knowledgeable about streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon whilst understanding the power of binge watching? This will help us determine how we navigate our future within this category beneath the creative sector umbrella.

The advertising side of the industry is valued at around £12.3m — a more common route of industry-entry with the opportunity to study a digital design degree. From electronic billboards to push notifications as well as sponsoring influencers to creating out-of-the box advertorial concepts that will get people talking – those wanting to work in advertising must showcase their talents across the entire spectrum from graphic design to marketing a campaign efficiently to deliver the best results possible. These skills are needed, especially with the direction social media is taking us regarding viral videos!

There are countless branches that make up the creative sector — for example, publishing which is worth £11.6m and music that is worth £8.2m, highlighting that we need to create more accessible routes and upskill young people to pioneer the future.

It’s important to equip young people with the right skillset they need to enter the industry and contribute something positive — if you upskill your current staff and invest more into training programs for new starters positive change will arise because of this. When you invest time and money into employees, you will see greater results that will help improve your business across the board which will allow you to keep up with growing trends and develop new methods of working. In an industry that’s always moving, it’s important to stay ahead and be the innovators that are thought as the market leaders here in the UK.

Georgie White, Copywriter for Cleveland College

Copyright © 2018 FE News

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