BIRMINGHAM ENTERPRISE COMMUNITY LAUNCHES £50K SCHEME TO UPSKILL YOUNG WORKFORCE
‘Skills for Tomorrow’ is designed to equip those aged 18-30 with the tools to thrive in the changing workplace, in a move that Birmingham Enterprise Community hopes will be welcome news for the city’s young people and businesses alike.
The scheme is particularly timely in light of findings that Generation-Z and Late Millennials have been the hardest hit by COVID-19 redundancies, with over 156,000 of them losing their jobs in between May and July this year. To help get them back on their feet and into the workforce once more, BEC conducted research amongst businesses to find out what skills they need from employees in the emerging ‘new normal’. The social enterprise has now used these findings to formulate a four-week course, which focusses on key areas: problem solving, leadership and creative thinking.
Geared towards students, graduates, and young professionals, as well as those who are looking to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey, the Skills for Tomorrow programme has been funded by Innovate UK, as part of a bid for companies to help solve economic and social issues caused by COVID-19.
Speaking about why the programme is so crucial, Daniel Evans, the CEO of Birmingham Enterprise Community, commented:
“The impact of COVID-19 has already had huge and far-reaching effects for businesses, which are now facing problems that simply don’t have solutions yet. The key to solving them is the agility to adapt quickly, and in order to do this, companies are looking to retain and recruit those with the ability to think in new and creative ways. This is where we truly believe that young people present a huge opportunity for businesses.
“Through our work at BEC, we have seen first-hand the resourcefulness, innovative thinking, and creativity that young people bring to the boardroom. There’s already been a seismic shift in the way the world of work operates, and we’re eager to refine, train, and upskill young people to be able to use their skills to shape what it will look like going forward.”
The first cohort of the Skills for Tomorrow programme has now graduated and amongst them is Hannah Elsy. Hannah runs Hannah Elsy Productions, a theatre production company which was due to tour a show in April 2020, and had contracts with The Old Vic and in the West End. However, with the theatre sector facing an overnight curtain call when the lockdown was enforced, Hannah Elsy Productions lost 90% of its business.
Through the Skills for Tomorrow programme, Hannah’s self-perception was reframed, now seeing herself as a business owner and entrepreneur, rather than someone who simply ‘makes theatre’. This mindset led to Hannah finding new ways of providing live theatre experiences for audiences, for example bringing shows into audiences back gardens. Hannah said:
“The Skills for Tomorrow programme is a fantastically structured course, which takes you through the building blocks of entrepreneurship. This entrepreneurial knowledge has been incredibly empowering: I would highly recommend Skills For Tomorrow to everyone as essential professional development, whether you are looking to set up your own business or just looking to make a change in your employment.”