More than 43 per cent of young people don’t feel they are currently getting the right training and support to find work and nearly 30 per cent say they want courses to incorporate more work experience to better equip graduates for the future, a new report by advisory firm EY and mental health organisation ReachOut has found.
Additionally, about 40 per cent of existing jobs are at “high risk of automation over the next 10 to 15 years”, according to the report on equipping young people for the future working world, released on Monday.
Ashley deSilva, chief executive of ReachOut, said that today’s young people will be disproportionately impacted by automation, which will affect entry-level jobs more than higher-level positions.
“This changing reality of work means that young people are more likely to be doubling jobs and participating in the gig economy, which is great in terms of having more flexible jobs that didn’t exist before but, equally, has challenges in terms of job stability and mental health,” Mr deSilva said.
“Because we know where the future of work is heading and we know the challenges, it’s now a key time for thinking about how we can help young people prepare for that.”
The full-time employment rate for university graduates with bachelor degrees has fallen from 85 per cent in 2007 to 71 per cent in 2016, according to the report.
Caitlin Francis, a partner at EY, said that schools, universities and TAFEs need to work constructively with employers to make sure students have access to lots of practical experience.
“Working in industry makes you a more attractive candidate and sets you up for the future,” Ms Francis said.
“I’ve seen a lot of change in the last five or six years and I think that will continue to change. It’s been interesting to observe how increased automation means the work we’re doing is becoming more interesting and challenging and we’re looking at problems in a different way.
“Young people are digital natives so it will be less confronting for them but they also need to be mindful that they don’t necessarily already have the skill set they will need.”
While the report notes that literacy and numeracy will be integral skills in future working environments, it also recommends that schools and tertiary institutions also focus more heavily on other skills such as creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.
Only 63 per cent of students leaving year 12 go on to university or tertiary training, according to the Gonski review, and the report raises concerns about the value of schools prioritising academic ability through NAPLAN and HSC tests and the ATAR.
For Monica, despite getting high marks at school and university, doing casual work alongside her studies and getting an internship after graduation, she still had a lot to learn when she started in her first full-time position.
“When I entered the workplace I thought I was prepared and then I realised I was still learning and had to develop really quickly the skills I needed, things like project management and working with different stakeholders,” Monica said.
“I think universities should give every student the opportunity to do an extended internship or project, learning the context of the real world, being exposed to different industries and gaining experience by talking to people in various industries should be more important.”
Education reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald
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