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Youth missing out on digital jobs boom due to poor parental careers advice

The statement comes after an O2 study released yesterday found that 1 in 10 parents would “actively discourage” their children from a career in the digital sector.

According to the study, 23% of the 2,000 parents interviewed deemed key skills like web design and coding to be “irrelevant”, despite the burgeoning need for digital talent in the UK.

Since January, Bubble Jobs - which specialises in advertising jobs in the digital sector - has advertised 1,500 entry-level digital vacancies, suggesting there are plenty of job opportunities for young people in the digital sector.

Despite a lack of support for digital careers, O2’s survey also found that 38% of parents would still actively encourage their children to take up a career in more traditional sectors such as medicine or law.

The survey results come just a few months before changes to the national curriculum come into effect which will see more of an emphasis placed on digital skills.

From autumn, children as young as five will be taught about 3D printing, robotics, computer coding and algorithms in a bid to equip them with the digital skills they’ll need in the future.

Bubble Jobs Managing Director Adam Butwilowski said: “We’re disappointed by the results of the survey because it suggests that parents have a real lack of knowledge and enthusiasm about the digital industry and the genuine, long term career opportunities the sector could offer their children.

“There’s an overwhelming number of opportunities in the industry right now from careers with major brand names to exciting opportunities with entrepreneurial start-ups.

“The important message to get across is that the digital industry and the jobs within it aren’t a fad, the industry is growing and will continue to do so as digital will become at the forefront of many aspects of our lives.

“Parents need to understand that and actively encourage their children to find out more about the sector and the career paths in the industry.

“A lot of young Brits today are & lsquo;digital natives’ – they’re growing up with key digital skills that employers are looking for – so it would be a real shame if they missed out due to a lack of support or guidance from their parents.”

The survey comes more than a year after the European Commission launched the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs – an initiative designed to tackle the critical shortfall of ICT experts across Europe.

The initiative aims to increase the supply of ICT practitioners by 2015, addressing Europe’s predicted shortage of 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020 – and has been supported by major names such as Google, HP and Bubble Jobs.

In addition to supporting the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, Bubble Jobs have also partnered with Manchester Creative Studio to provide invaluable digital careers advice to its students and their parents.

The school, which is due to open in September and will teach 14-19 year olds Graphic Design, Coding and Computer Science alongside regular GCSE subjects, admits parents aren’t fully supportive of their children when it comes to digital careers.

Manchester Creative Studio Principle Nicola Barthorpe said:

“One of the biggest issues we face as an education provider is convincing parents about the importance and relevance of  learning digital subjects alongside traditional academic ones, which many still see as being the only way to advance.

“We also see many parents who are not convinced that they are crucial in today’s educational environment.

“The key message that we are passing to our young people and their parents is that the digital sector is growing and that with support from parents and the education system the opportunities open to young people are endless.”

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