For May’s monthly meetup Liverpool Girl Geeks, in partnership with Agent Academy and Baltic Creative, invited four young people to discuss starting a career in the digital sector and their views on the digital skills gap. As one of those panellists; here I will share some of the key takeaways I took from our discussion.
Confidence means forging your own career path, staking a claim on your future, removing yourself from your inhibitions, possibly even speaking on a panel!
You don’t need to be the loudest in the room to be heard.
We live in a society that is instilling a lack of confidence in young girls from the age of 10. By the time they reach 17, only a third of young women believe they have the same chance at success as young men.
Jess, a fellow panel member, is one of just four girls in her computer science class at school. Unfortunately, the 16 boys in the class don’t think their female counterparts are up to muster. For Jess this is challenge accepted. She’s confident in her techspertise, in her ability to pursue a maths degree and start a career in MI6. So those boys better watch out!
Labels, what’s in a name anyway?
We get a bad press, ‘Generation Z’. A bunch of narcissists high on screen time, we want the world on a plate and we want it now, apparently. Yet we’re the most conscientious, politically active, globally connected movers and shakers around. We also smoke and drink less than all the Generation Y 90’s ravers!
Got the time to actually do fun things after work? We’re the ones backing flexi time. Having a sustainable work-life balance with flexible working hours and a friendly environment are really important to us. Calling all employers, we task you to embrace health and well-being. See what happens to productivity if you do.
The panellists were a diverse bunch: spy, entrepreneur, philosopher, client manager, baker and candlestick maker! So don’t put us in a box, tarnish us with the same brush, make us conform to outdated job descriptions.
Yes we have been given the last letter of the alphabet. But we’re also the best hope for the future. Lets reclaim that label!
Know Your Worth
There has been a lot of attention around the rise of unpaid internships recently. It’s manifested into an unjust necessity rather than rewarding experience.
With initiatives such as ILM funding, the ethos of companies using work experience as free labour must be questioned.
Employers should be ready to challenge, motivate and inspire us. The digital creative sector is not static. Dynamic and fast paced, it needs a stimulated workforce to go with it.
On ‘future proofing’ the workforce: we might not know what jobs are round the corner – 65% of jobs don’t even exist yet – but employers haven’t seen what’s coming yet. And they better get ready for us!
Getting people to buy into your product though quality design is a cornerstone of the sector. And yet the sector is doing so badly at self-branding. Agencies have jumped onto the social media bandwagon to get the word out. But google ‘Liverpool digital and creative’ and you’ll be disenchanted by the LEP website.
The phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ has rightly been applied to the lack of female role models in the sector. We also can’t be in jobs we don’t know exist. Appeal to us in a language we understand.
It’s time we stopped hiding behind the words ‘digital’ and ‘creative’ to reveal the opportunities on our doorstep.
People working in tech have a bad rep. By showcasing career diversity we stand a chance at rebutting negative stereotypes to facilitate awareness, inspiration and excitement. Parents get on board, that includes you!
As the panel discussions and audience questions showcased, young people from all educational backgrounds are invited to join the ride.
Finally how to market ourselves? Gone are the days of the paper CV – LinkedIn is doing it better. Be digital. Be creative. Get the word out about what you have to offer. Break the mould.
Yes there are problems: the education system is killing creativity and relinquishing work experience. Industry professionals and initiatives like Girl Geeks need to have a greater role in schools. Schools have such a big role to play. We want to be constantly challenged and inspired by new learning models, experiential and practical learning. Young people need to actively seek experiences.
With digital creative jobs being listed on sites like Liverpool Girl Geeks’ job pages word is getting out about the opportunities.
We’ve just got to shout about them and showcase what the sector has to offer.
Want to hear more from the young persons panel? Catch up with the live recording below:
Written by Isobel Hyde-Walker, Junior Client Manager at Uniform and panel member on Monday 8th May