How to Support the School Leavers of 2020

MyKindaFuture’s Strategic Lead for Talent, and all-round Early Talent expert, Simon Reichwald, shares his insights on the impact of the exam results algorithm.

The recent A-Level results that showed an algorithm had significantly downgraded students from disadvantaged areas will impact young people now, as well as risk a residual impact on their future. Despite the decision being overturned and teacher-assessed grades being reinstated, the feeling that those from lower socio-economic backgrounds aren’t as deserving will remain. For many, they have lost out on the hard-won places at top tier universities after an already unsettling 2020. Furthermore, for B-Tech students, those results are still pending.

To ensure that this generation don’t become further disheartened and disillusioned, and to stem the social mobility losses that will arise, we must act now. 

Stemming social mobility losses

If you can’t be what you can’t see, we need to make sure that everyone is supported to thrive and succeed, no matter their background. Elevating all employees to a position of equal opportunity in the workplace is truly crucial so that there is a tangible career path for students of all ages.

Experiencing feelings of loss and anxiety, seeing record levels of unemployment, having their results impacted, and not being able to take their final exams are all factors that will affect their ability to move into the workplace with confidence, and they will need that confidence to navigate their way into what is a tough job market.

Therefore, we must all go beyond just saying we are ‘open to all’, and actually demonstrate that we are.

It is in our hands to deliver support and provide structure and clarity during this time. That support can and must be delivered through multiple formats, whether that’s with digital mentoring programmes or virtual work experience.

Anyone who has been at home with young people during lockdown has surely experienced the difficulty of prising them away from technology to get some fresh air! But how about when that technology inspires and excites them toward a career within an industry that is predicting a future skills gap? It’s not just lessons that are delivered virtually, but work experience too. Now, they can access mentors who not long ago were in school, college or uni themselves and they can talk to them in real-time. From a range of sectors, engaged and driven employees are ready to inspire young people to find their passion.

Providing a tangible path

To really encourage this cohort of teens to succeed, they need to be able to picture themselves working within that company, within that industry. They don’t know which way the world is going, where they will be needed most, nor what skills are valued. But we do, and we can, and must share that knowledge with them. Showing them the career choices and giving a direction to head toward will give comfort and stability, not just to them, but to the many companies anticipating a lack of STEM skills in the next 10 years as well.

Highly engaging technology has a crucial role to play in bringing all this to life, and for employers to truly evidence their commitment to young people, at scale.

Given the setbacks our students are currently facing within their education, providing them with tools and support from people like them in order to achieve their goals, is the all important next step.