Our reality is not only the information age, we live today mainly in the digital age. This is due to the creation and transfer of more and more news, which is primarily digital.
We use the internet for many hours every day. It has completely dominated our time, habits and everyday life. It is estimated that before 1980, about 1% of information was digitally encoded, and in 2016 over 99%! In less than 40 years, our reality has changed digitally to a great extent.
Digital skills, smart devices – are they needed?
This state of affairs forces specific digital skills on the labor market, valued and increasingly required by employers. These include, among others: digital thinking; selection of appropriate digital platforms and tools for specific tasks; communication and cooperation with appropriate communicators; creativity and focus on continuous development; use of available information and its analysis; role-playing skills.
In addition, it is a fact today that digitization forces the presence of additional devices in the work environment. In many places, e.g. production halls, apart from human work, intelligent machines are used to work better, faster and more effectively than us. It is reassuring that even the most necessary machine in the working environment cannot replace a human being. We are needed because machines cannot think adaptively, do not have social intelligence, and do not have the ability to search for information and use media. Let’s remember that “human” skills at work are essential!
Gaps in digital competences and NEETs
Based on research, it is assumed that there are gaps in digital competences on the labor market, currently reaching 60% in 2023 and in the perspective of 80% by 2030. According to the assumptions of the EU, Member States should prepare employees and employers for what the digital future will bring us. This can be achieved e.g. by upgrading skills or retraining the employees or employing new, talented and competent people.
Taking into account the gaps in digital competences, it is necessary to take into account i.a. NEET youth who, due to difficult access to education and work, do not have the currently required professional qualifications. It is estimated that on average in the EU, NEETs constitute around 11.7%.
How to help NEETs?
Despite significant investment, young people in many regions still face systemic challenges in setting up a business or finding a job. The solution is initiatives that provide young people with comprehensive support, such as the international program YES – Young Entrepreneurs Succeed. This project was created to support young people aged 18-29. The main goal of the program is to provide direct services to the target group in Poland, Greece, Italy and Spain, and the courses provided not only provide substantive knowledge, but also focus on soft skills.
In Poland, the YES program is run by the Youth Business Poland Foundation. Thanks to it, help is provided to both young entrepreneurs (nearly 170 participants received support as part of the YES course) and people who, when looking for a job, need to improve their professional qualifications or re-industry in the area of digital marketing. It is an industry that is constantly growing and evolving. The Internet gives the opportunity to reach a huge number of customers, regardless of where they are, which opens up endless possibilities, and at the same time the demand for this type of service is constantly growing. Due to the lack of courses for NEET youth under the Young Entrepreneurs Succeed program, the Foundation has developed a comprehensive Digital Marketing Academy course, after which young people can find their dream job.
The premise of the course was to support participants in gaining tomorrow’s skills – necessary digital professional qualifications or switching to digital marketing. The course begins with an analysis of participants’ competencies, strengths and weaknesses. It also presents the possible development paths in the area of digital marketing and indicates the trends of the future. Coaches – owners of marketing agencies and experts, suggest what they pay attention to when looking for employees and how to effectively look for employment in this area.
Currently, the fourth edition of this course has been held, attended by almost 200 people. Participants, in addition to the program workshops, also benefited from specialist advice, mainly digital marketing. Those interested also had the opportunity to take advantage of coaching advice. The partner of the Young Entrepreneurs Succeed Program is the Labor Office in Warsaw.
In order to minimize the gaps in digital competences in Poland, young people from the NEET group should be supported by encouraging them to take up work and deepen their education. This task is carried out by Labor Offices through cooperation with schools, undertaking activities at job fairs or meetings with local institutions. In each voivodeship, young people can apply to the local Labor Offices for support in completing training courses.
Skills for the digital age
Given the continuous development of technology, we should pay special attention to the skills that will be needed on the labor market in the near future. These include: forecasting and coding; data collection and analysis; communication and cooperation; creativity and problem solving; digital awareness and cybersecurity. We should pursue further education in this direction, developing our own professional qualifications and activating young NEETs to take up technological and digital jobs.
YOUTH BUSINESS POLAND