The 16th November 2017 saw WorldSkills UK kick off our inaugural Youth Summit at The Skills Show in the Birmingham NEC, where a group of seventy 16 -24 years old came together to tackle the issue of careers advice. A diverse range of young people were present to join in the discussion, ranging from students, apprentices, those in full time employment and those who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

Careers advice in the UK is a hot topic and with the launch of the new careers advice strategy for England due to come out soon – the importance of young people being able to have their say was not lost on those in the room. The summit included a debate on the following motion: ‘This House Believes that traditional careers advice is no longer relevant to young people and the future of work’. Before the debate an incredible 95% of young people voted in agreement with the statement, so it was amazing to see how opinions became more fluid after listening to the arguments on both sides of this motion. The end result was an astounding shift to 65% of those in the room disagreeing and believing that careers advice is relevant to young people.

The young people in the room took inspiration from those debates, engaging in an accelerated form of design thinking to look at the issues they were most concerned about in careers advice. They designed solutions to these problems and thought about how these could be pitched to a panel of experts. The young people did this through creative sessions, using large light boxes on which they could write and draw to express themselves.

Working to a deadline, they went through a series of practice pitches that required them to outline the issue they were solving, the root causes and how they would go about implementing their ideas, all of which took into account the four pillars that have been released for the forthcoming careers advice strategy.

The best pitches were selected to be delivered on the main stage at The Skills Show to a panel that included Sue Husband (Director, National Apprenticeship Service) Claudia Harris (CEO, Careers & Enterprise Company), Trudy Harrison (MP, Education Select Committee member) & Steve Fogg (MD, BAE Systems).

Five teams delivered pitches of up two minutes, detailing their ideas around careers advice. The winning team were the ‘Careers Busters’, with the panel complimenting the team on their particular focus on the challenges surrounding accessibility, the originality of their ideas and the confidence they displayed in their presentation.     

We will be compiling all the ideas developed at the Youth Summit and will be sharing these with Skills Minister Anne Milton as well as senior policy-makers, key partners and of course young people who  took part in the Summit.

As an organisation, WorldSkills UK is a partnership between government, businesses and education, working with young people to accelerate their career development. We look forward to engaging with even more young people and partners in the future to tackle the topics that are of the greatest importance to young people, business and education.

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