What you told us about the skills young people need

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To coincide with Mumsnet and Barclays teaming up on LifeSkills, a programme giving young people the skills they need to thrive when they leave school, we asked you what skills you think young people really need.

Not only that, we had you dragging through the memory banks to your school days to ask yourself whether or not anything has really changed. And here's what you told us.

So, what was your view on the situation now? Unsurprisingly a lot of you recognised how hard things can be nowadays. InMySpareTime told us, "When I was younger, if I wanted a job (or even an additional job), I would just drop my CV at a few places and have secured a job within the day. That is impossible for most young people today." This struggle is part of what we're trying to tackle head-on with the LifeSkills programme.

But what, in your opinions, were the skills young people really need? Communication came pretty high up on the list, with a few of you even citing examples of young people not being brave enough to make a phone call! Headlesslambrini says, "It's amazing how many young people still want their mums to ring up for them, and find it difficult to maintain eye contact with people."

Doodlealley agreed, "Young people need to be given a sense of confidence about working independently and taking responsibility."

Hopezibah also made a great point on this, "General good manners and social skills are essential, but taught in a way that encourages mutual respect rather than forces young people to conform by quashing who they really are. Wouldn't it be great if our kids could be allowed to fulfil their potential doing work they love doing?"

"We should go back to valuing those who work hard and take pride in doing their job well, regardless of the nature of that work." alreadytaken

We couldn't agree more! That's why LifeSkills is all about giving young people the skills they need, be it money skills, people skills or work skills, to take their first steps towards a successful work life – whatever job turns out to be right for them.

This approach suits alreadytaken down to the ground who feels, "We should go back to valuing those who work hard and take pride in doing their job well, regardless of the nature of that work."

With that in mind, we're giving young people access to online resources, teacher and volunteer led sessions, and work experience opportunities that are really suited to them, through the LifeSkills programme. But we want to make sure they're ready first, as we know some of you have had difficult experiences of this.

We were sorry to hear tiredfeet's account, "We have young people come for placements and I am surprised by how many seem totally uninterested and unenthusiastic about what they are doing." This is one of the reasons that young people on the LifeSkills programme complete their online modules before they start their work experience, and why students are matched up with opportunities, based on their interests, skills and ambition.

Tiredfeet also described something that many of you were concerned about: "I have also been surprised to see CVs with 'silly' email addresses given as the contact details, or scruffy clothes for work experience." You shouldn't have to worry about that now, as LifeSkills incorporate CV writing and lots of other training on how to behave in the workplace, which means young people feel confident and professional when they start their work experience.

Mrscumberbatch had some really positive advice that we can probably all relate to: "Stay confident. Don't let the niggles get you down." And mrs cog added, "Aim high when you're young." (And not just when you're young, we say!)

"Every experience is positive. Don't undersell yourself; derive the transferable skills from what you've already done. Be pro-active, take initiative, employ common sense. Keep going until you get something you do love." Delasi

We also wondered how much you thought things had changed since your time at school, and breatheandflyaway took the balanced view: "We received no holistic or pastoral care and disability or difference was not nurtured. However we did know how to cope with knock backs and low grades and pick ourselves up. Not everyone can be top dog and in a well rounded society there's room and need for all abilities."

Delasi looked back and decided, "Every experience is positive. Don't undersell yourself; derive the transferable skills from what you've already done. Be pro-active, take initiative, employ common sense. Keep going until you get something you do love." Great advice!

LifeSkills aims to get young people ready for work and whosiwhatsit summed up one of the reasons we are committed to these goals, "There's no sense in blaming young people now for being unemployed when there are so many experienced professionals unable to find jobs. Young people need to do whatever it takes to get on a stable track and that's much more difficult than it was for my generation."

Phew, looks like it's time to get to work. There are lots of ways to support the LifeSkills programme, and you can still have your say on this topic here.

And we had a tip from fossil971 that we'll definitely be looking into: "When I was a teenager, the most lasting impressions I had were from young people a few years ahead of me coming back into school or at a careers event, telling us how it is. It would be great to see some videos of 17/18 year olds actually in the workplace talking about how they got their jobs and what it's like to be there." Great idea! 

 

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