Author: Zara Taylor
Undoubtedly 2020 has been a tough year for us all. The Pandemic has caused great anxiety, physical and mental health issues, both directly and through resulting social distancing/isolation, and wider concerns over the massive disruption to the world economy.
Whilst COVID-19 is the immediate threat, there are likely to be much longer-term issues to face, including the economic situation, the pace of recovery, and the interruption to wellbeing and livelihoods, which will have an even longer-lasting effect on us all.
Young people, specifically those in education, have been particularly affected by unscheduled disruptions. We all know just how stressful and crucial that period is, making choices and building qualifications that will shape the rest of your life. Pandemic disruptions are literally life-changing for a generation of young people.
Unfortunately, this looks set to continue for the time being. In 2020 many schools and college grades were (somewhat controversially) calculated from mock examination results, and Wales has already announced that the summer 2021 GCSE, AS and A-level exams have been cancelled in favour of classroom assessments.
Whilst the education sector is doing its best to overcome these challenges, it is a stressful time for all students, and this has a knock-on effect on the wider economy and society as a whole. The next generation of workers across all sectors is finding its career path significantly disrupted, which affects us all.
As a technology-driven sector, the security industry relies heavily on recruiting young talent with the right technical skills, so will particularly feel the pinch. This is where apprenticeships can play a vital role.
When you consider the huge leap in the technology employed by the security industry over the last five years (let alone over the last decade!), it’s not hard to see why any disruption to the flow of young tech-savvy professionals is a big problem brewing for the future.
Added to this is the looming uncertainty of Brexit. A lack of clarity in terms of the UK’s relationship with trading partners in the EU and worldwide makes planning for the future a significant challenge. Added to this is the inevitable international economic fallout from the Pandemic, providing further uncertainty.
Young people always face challenges finding a career path when they leave education, but economic instability makes this even more difficult. As businesses look to protect their core activities, taking on inexperienced staff (however well educated they are) can seem risky. However, there are also long-term risks from failing to nurture this talent. Young professionals may fail to join their chosen career, or they may even leave the country to find opportunities abroad and add to the ‘Brain Drain’ – neither of which is good for the UK security industry!
Innovation and new ways of doing things are critical to any technology sector, and the security industry is finding itself constantly competing against others. At TDSi for instance, we rely on hardware experts and skilled software engineers and developers. These skills are inherently transferable to many modern industries, so our industry needs to attract talented and motivated individuals to ensure we continue to evolve and thrive.
It is vital for the security industry to continue nurturing and supporting fresh talent. Apprenticeships are an excellent way of addressing employers’ needs for skilled and motivated young professionals, whilst providing vital industry experience and training for young people.
Apprenticeships have also evolved to suit the needs of modern industry and commerce. No longer is it just a career path for unskilled school leavers, apprenticeships are an ideal accompaniment to advanced education.
This is perfectly illustrated by TDSi’s recent appointment of our first High-Level Apprentice, Product Engineer Oscar Johnson. Whilst Oscar is currently studying for a Higher National Certificate (HNC) at Bournemouth and Poole College for two years, he will continue as a degree apprentice for a further four years after that and enjoy a permanent role at TDSi alongside his studies. This approach perfectly matches the best academic training with commercial and business experience, providing a well-rounded set of skills that are fully relevant to the security industry.
This combination of both academic and commercial training would be difficult to achieve without an apprenticeship scheme. It matches both the needs of the young student professional and the business, as well as the industry as a whole and therefore the wider economy. Everyone is a winner.
Society constantly strives to train and mentor young talent, passing the torch to the next generation and ensuring they benefit from existing knowledge as a step up to the next stage of discovery and achievement.
Undoubtedly the unprecedented events of 2020 will have a detrimental effect on the development of the world economy and our society. However, it’s down to key sectors such as the security industry to push forward and support the next generation, to help smooth over the current issues and support the young talent we all depend on.
TDSi has been a keen supporter of apprenticeships for many years, but it’s fair to say it’s more important than ever to ensure this continues and grows for the future.