Our Volunteer and Alumni Manager Thomas Shirt explains how our new ‘Teach Tom’ online tutorials are helping to inspire young people to learn about different careers and try out new skills.

“But what do they actually do?”
This was the most common question I overheard last year while wandering amongst the 70,000 visitors to WorldSkills UK LIVE. Understanding the fundamentals of a career on a day-to-day basis is crucial to enable our young people make a decision about their future that is right for them. So crucial that ‘Investigating jobs and Labour Market Information’ is one of nine indicators on the Careers and Development Institute framework. It is a question that deserves a fair, accurate and balanced answer for every sector.

How are we answering it?
At WorldSkills UK we have come up with a fun and engaging way of providing insight into the key attributes and processes that make up some of our most fundamental career routes. Our ‘Teach Tom’ video series takes a simple premise – a Skills Champion, who is an expert in their field and role model for young people, teaches me a skill that while may be an everyday occurrence in their job, might not be as clear and understandable to the rest of us.

Keeping young people inspired
Research has shown that the economic implications of COVID-19 are likely to hit young people the hardest, which is why at WorldSkills UK, we’re dedicated to supporting and inspiring thousands of young people through this challenging time.

Filmed mostly from my kitchen by using Zoom to communicate, the series is a digital solution to the issue of reaching and engaging young people during lockdown.

So far I’ve been taught to cook by Great British Menu finalist Ruth Hansom who also gave me an insight into what it’s like to work in a professional kitchen. 3D Artist Dan McCabe taught me how to create a 3D digital skateboard while explaining what it is like to work on the Formula One franchise. And WorldSkills Kazan Gold Medal winner and beauty therapist Rebecca West talked me through how to give a world-class facial, all the way from the other side of the globe.

The Teach Tom series is a simple and effective way of breaking down careers in relatable language by our outstanding role models. While we’re all becoming used to remote ways of working and learning, I hope that these videos will help to inspire young people to learn more about different careers and try out new skills.

Personally I’ve loved learning more about our Skills Champions’ careers while developing my skills and proving that, when you’ve got an expert leading the way, anything is possible!

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