Life skills learned outside school must be measured and valued if we want young people ready for digital economy, says Youth Council
New online tool to help young people highlight skills gained in activities outside of school launched by Minister Zappone and groups including National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) , SpunOut and Accenture.
We know that young people’s ‘transferrable life skills’ are vital to the digital economy, and that they are already being developed through volunteering and taking part in youth work activities. The challenge now is to make future employers aware of this. That’s according to youth work experts at the launch of Skills Summary, a new online tool to support young people to track essential life skills, at The Dock, Accenture’s flagship R&D and Global Innovation Centre, in Dublin today (07.03.19).
Skills Summary helps young people measures the skills they gain when participating in youth work and volunteering, such as leadership, problem solving, teamwork and adaptability, and helps them communicate the value of these skills to future employers. It is the result of a collaboration between the NYCI, Accenture, SpunOut.ie and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
65% of young people will hold jobs that don’t exist yet
At the launch, speakers including the founder of four time academy award nominated Cartoon Saloon, Tomm Moore, country managing director for Accenture in Ireland, Alastair Blair, as well as young people sharing their experiences of youth work, discussed the importance of transferrable life skills and how they will be needed in the digital economy. They also highlighted recent reports indicating that up to 65% of young people starting school today will hold jobs that don’t exist yet and that almost 1 in 10 jobs is at risk of automation across OECD countries .
“Technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace and we, as employers, need to look at how we are equipping young people for lifelong learning and jobs of the future. I am delighted that Accenture has been part of the team to develop an online tool that focuses on demonstrating the importance of core transferable life skills to young people entering the workforce. These skills are vitally important in our rapidly changing digital economy”, said Alastair Blair, country managing director, Accenture in Ireland.
Young People develop these life skills through participating in youth work organisations and volunteering.
Tomm Moore, founder of Cartoon Saloon explained how the skills he developed in his younger years at Young Irish Filmmakers, such as problem solving, teamwork and an entrepreneurial spirit really played a big part in his going on to set up Cartoon Saloon, and that these skills still stand to him today.
Need to identify, assess and market these skills
Mary Cunningham, director of the NYCI – which represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide – said that employers need to be informed that these life skills that are essential in the digital economy are being developed by young people through youth work and volunteering activities.
“Skills Summary has the potential to do this as it is designed to build the confidence of young people around the life skills that they already have, to help them identify these skills and to assist them to better prepare for interviews and success in the job market,” she added.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD officially launched Skills Summary, which is recognised under her department’s new Youth Employability Initiative. Speaking at the launch she said: “I am delighted to support Skills Summary. The contribution of volunteers to youth services, projects and clubs is highly regarded within my own Department and many initiatives could not operate without their support and dedication. The commitment, energy and expertise of volunteers are crucial to the strong and diverse youth infrastructure which has developed across the country. Volunteering is part of the everyday fabric of youth work and now we have a tool which will measure the development of a young person’s skills.”
The groups involved aim to reach 1,500 young people in the first year of Skills Summary, and target increases on that in future years, funding permitting. Ms Cunningham said “Skills Summary will now be rolled out nationally through our member and partner organisations, to ensure it benefits as many young people as possible. This is why it is so important that this is a collaboration between a range of organisations that between them have both the technical know-how and the national reach to make Skills Summary a success.”
Skills Summary was developed with input from Volunteer Ireland, and a wide range of youth organisations including Foróige, Gaisce, Irish Girl Guides, Eco-Unesco and young people themselves. The tool can be accessed online here: www.skillssummary.ie
 New Skills Now: inclusion in the digital economy, Accenture (2017) https://www.accenture.com/t20171012T025413Z__w__/in-en/_acnmedia/PDF-62/Accenture-New-Skills-Now-Report.pdf
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.
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Skills Summary is the result of a collaborative project between the National Youth Council of Ireland, Accenture and SpunOut.ie. Funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and recognised as a measurement tool in the Youth Employability Initiative, Skills Summary was developed with input from Volunteer Ireland, a range of NYCI member organisations including Foróige, Gaisce, Irish Girl Guides and young people.