I’ve been involved in creating a new programme with the Prince’s Trust, ‘Future Leaders’ which targets a specific group of young people – those who are ready for work, but for various reasons have not yet found employment, or who may be under-employed and on a trajectory below their potential. So far during the pilot phase, we have helped 80 young people develop crucial life skills and help them on the path to employment.
The programme was officially launched last week by Gareth Southgate, who spoke about the skills you need to succeed and the importance of helping young people become self-aware and build confidence to be ‘Future Leaders’.
The young people coming through the course, have a few things in common that are blocking them from succeeding in meaningful employment: They don’t know what they want to do; they can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the plethora of roles and industries. They often do not appreciate their own strengths and certainly cannot link those to the types of skills an employer might need; and they lack confidence.
That’s why the course is focused on helping young people to understand their strengths and natural ways of working, to appreciate the way others work and build the confidence needed to make the first steps into new employment. We look to support participants as they future proof their skills in the face of the digital revolution, building core capabilities such as critical thinking, team working and problem solving. In addition, facilitated by our Capgemini volunteers who share their experiences of working , we try to inspire young people to consider a role in the IT sector, which is so much more than coding alone.
From my experience of this course, there seem to be three things that can really help these young people.
We can help them cut through feelings of career uncertainty
The digital transformation we are experiencing is having a huge impact on everything including the world of work. 73% of our current generation of young people feel less certain than their parents did at their age about future employment.
Throughout the two days we make sure our young people have a chance to interact and discuss the personal career stories of our own Capgemini volunteers because we know that increasing interactions with employers will increase the chances of young people succeeding in finding employment.
By sharing our own examples and anecdotes, we create a simple yet surprisingly effective way to broaden horizons, share ideas and showcase that no two routes are the same. It is also important to note that for most in the room, their dream job may not yet exist! Mine didn’t just 8 years ago when I moved into the sphere of Responsible Business within the IT sector.
We need to help young people identify strengths
Those of us in employment might think that we know where our own strengths lie, but like most things, it takes purposeful effort to develop those skills. Understanding strengths – and weaknesses are a key element to success in any job.
This is why we have worked with Flying Start XP who have crafted a simple and yet ingenious way to use the colour personality profiling tool ‘C-Me’ to challenge the student’s reflections into their own strengths, values and behaviours, completely devoid of judgement.
We all have natural strengths and weaknesses, leaning towards certain ‘colour’ typing in any given situation. Truth is, we’re all a mix of all four with one or two representing more of a comfort zone. Having done this so many times before, with the expert facilitation of Flying Start XP, I found myself reflecting anew and finding that it gave me a whole new way to articulate not only why I work the way that I do, but why others do – and how I might use that to develop the best in them or indeed tweak how I work so they get the best out of me. Our students found the same and the growth in them was tangible!
We need to help young people build confidence to succeed
It struck me that for but one or two opportunities in my own life, I could very well have been one of these students! I lacked confidence in my own abilities. Even now it is more a learnt state than a natural one, something I exercise and ‘fake’ at regular frequencies. Having interacted now with 80 young people through our pilot phase, I can honestly say they lack nothing but a little self-belief, encouragement and opportunity. This is holding them back from applying to jobs and from success at interviews and assessment centres. Consequently, Capgemini and other organisations such as ours are potentially missing out on what could be a rich and diverse talent pool.
Part of our course, my favourite bit, presents a practice assessment centre type activity where our young people can apply what they’ve learnt about the colour spectrum, their own ways of working and others’ by giving them a practical chance to adapt and ‘flex other colours’ to help solve the team challenge.
Career growth for the Future
Through this course I witnessed an incredible growth in the students. Those moments when a young person realised they are capable of more than they thought left more than one of us with a teary eye. By building upon a person’s natural strengths, boosting confidence and self-belief, together with providing practical like how to establish your personal brand through social media, we are opening up opportunities. I can’t wait to see the long-lasting impacts of this course and how it might lead to the ABCD of employment as The Trust has coined it: A job, a Better job, a Career or ultimately a Dream job.
To find out more to digital inclusion, and how we are helping under-represented groups and the unemployed (or under-employed) develop the skills they need for employment, visit our website.
Digital Inclusion Programme Manager, Capgemini, UK