Hundreds of students attended the 2018 Jersey Skills Show where, while many explored their career options, they also shared their thoughts on all things digital at the Digital Jersey stand.
Many people run in the opposite direction at the sights of somebody wielding a survey questionnaire, but together with Louise, Natalie and James from Digital Jersey I managed to convince them to have their say.
Nearly 300 students spared a couple of minutes – not a significant amount of time at face value – but when you consider they were at the show for just half an hour, I was really pleased with the result.
So what did I learn? Well, to me, it highlighted the work that’s needed to educate more young people about what the digital sector is.
Yes, they may know who the hottest YouTuber is, but there’s confusion about what ‘digital industry’ actually means. Telecoms, a significant industry in Jersey, was considered a digital industry by just 30% of the students we spoke to.
Dig a little deeper and the story becomes clearer. With age comes knowledge and understanding. Understanding of digital industries for 11 to 15 year olds was much lower than for 16 to 20 year olds:
One key lesson that came from all the data we gathered in the survey was that the 16 to 20 age bracket has a massive interest in digital.
Over 75% had considered a career in digital and it’s safe to say that after visiting the 2018 Jersey Skills Show and seeing all the digital companies there, they now know more about what a digital role could offer them.
Not only this, but 65% of this age bracket would also be happy to receive their higher education on-Island to secure a specific job role. This, in turn, opens the door wide open for an influx of workers to the digital industry if it is possible to provide them with a high-quality education in Jersey.
Quite simply, there is a real appetite for digital careers, but we need the plans and provisions in place to make sure young people have the skills they require through education to meet the needs of a sector that will continue to experience rapid expansion.