The UK is facing a significant skills gap. A report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee estimates that the skills gap costs the UK economy as much as £63 billion a year in potential GDP. The mismatch between job vacancies and skilled candidates is coming at a hefty cost – especially in the current economic climate.
Not enough is being done to tackle the skills gap, and businesses must play a greater role in fixing the problem, especially in their local communities. This can be achieved by providing local people with the tools to learn digital skills and the opportunities to put what they have learnt into practice in the workplace.
At Here East, a major component of our work has been convening the best and brightest from across the business and education communities. We have exciting creative and tech businesses growing in scale and expertise, including Hobs 3D and Ford Mobility, as well as highly regarded educational institutions, including Staffordshire University London, LMA, University College London and Loughborough University London all based on the Here East campus. There are now over 5,400 people who work and study at the Here East every day.
The breadth of talent on our site gives us a golden opportunity to serve our local community in East London – something which has been a core part of our vision since the very first day we opened our doors. As a key partner in delivering on the Olympic Legacy, we take our commitment to the boroughs in which we operate extremely seriously.
We must empower people with the belief that industries such as technology are within reach for them. It is important to pique people’s interest in relevant subjects from a young age and encourage students to believe they can forge any career path they want.
Education and training are vital pathways for unlocking and nurturing the talent which will drive forward innovations and positive progress across all walks of life. Yet, too many young people lack the funds or connections to access the opportunities that open these doors to education and employment.
Connecting businesses and local young people are key to achieving this. Here East has an annual scholarship programme where we provide three students with full sponsorship of tuition fees and a maintenance loan supplement to one of the leading Universities on the campus.
As part of this, we facilitate relevant work experience placements within the Here East business community and mentoring opportunities during the degree – allowing scholars to learn more practical skills integral to the world of work.
The programme is aimed at students who face financial barriers and reside in the four growth boroughs of the Olympic park. Initiatives like these have immense social value, offering students financial relief, which means they can focus on their studies and make the most of their time in education allowing people to maximise their skillsets.
Scholarship programmes also open the door to career’s individuals never thought were possible; increasing the range of talent available for businesses to hire giving them more choice over who they hire. This is important as diversity of thought and lived experience is a key driver in innovation and progress, whether it be in the latest efforts against climate change, or the latest creative movement in ballet.
Having educational institutes working with local businesses to show students what amazing opportunities could be down the line for them and local businesses offering internships could be immensely impactful in getting young people engaged from a young age and enables them to believe in their potential.
Businesses and educational institutes need to recognise the long-term economic and social value created by investing in young people. Supporting the next generation will require communities to band together to challenge the status quo and think of innovative ways to inspire young people to want to improve and acquire relevant skills in an ever-changing work landscape. We must work together to normalise a multi-faceted approach – encouraging young people to do what is best to future-proof their career.
By Onaba Payab is Community and Partnerships Manager at Here EastRecommend0 recommendationsPublished in