The Next Gen Skills Debate – Birmingham Re-Worked on Monday was organised in association with Birmingham's Commission on Youth Unemployment and Birmingham's Smart City Commission, to take a transformative look at how we invest in skills & enterprise as part of a digital economy and create a brighter future for the young people of this city.

The Next Gen Skills Debate took place at Millennium Point in front of a packed house, energised by the support of Sampad and BOA students, who were our 'Next Gen' reporters' for the day – a reminder that young people need to be at the heart of the debate and shaping the next generation of learning – their future now.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader, Birmingham City Council set the vision to build a prosperous and inclusive city where everyone can play their part:

“Our young people are at the heart of that vision and my priority is to ensure that we maintain focus on creating an environment that supports jobs and enterprise."

Sir Albert announced the launch of a “call to arms that will fast-track employment opportunities for young people – 1000 apprenticeships in 100 days."

Microsoft welcomed this challenge to local businesses and pledged to work with QA their training partner, and the local council to place 100 apprentices into its partner businesses

From thereon in the day was filled with over 35 speakers and expert contributors interactive voting; workshops; panel debates; even a session on how to print your own Wikki House!

But this day had to be more than just inspiration and conversation – ultimately it was about gaining clarity, collaboration & commitment and what we do next to make a difference. We will be sharing shortly the key challenges, priorities from the day and actions to carry forward. In the meantime though, I will leave you with Amerah Saleh @Voiceofthepoets who beautifully and far better than I could do wrapped up the day through a spoken word piece from the many tweets.

Being invited to the hashtag NextGenSkills has been a real eye opener, its teaching us the core.

“1000 apprenticeships in 100 days launched tomorrow" said Sir Albert Bore.

Rick asked “how do we teach young people to be adaptable?" Using digital media hashtag twitter has made it intractable.

“Schools can't possibly teach young people to the rate of change"

“We need to give our young people REAL work experience…" that's what youth television is all about – Hash tag, shout out.

Organisations' communicating together is key, as a young person what do you do for us? – Hash tag, show me.

“Birmingham has the most dynamic young people" – Hash tag, I totally agree!

“Would have been great to see more young people involved with the debate and presenting…" – Hash tag, round two?

Connections are made through conversations and the best conversations happen at conferences exactly like this!

“E-SKILLS built a university course that had 100% employability to all students that attended the course." – Hash tag, we need more of this.

And this ended the morning session on how young people are the future; I am the voice of the hundreds hanging around, not knowing what's going on, outside.

TIP: let's bring these worlds together – Hash tag, let's collide

“Industries need to provide an active presence within our schools" – Hash tag, they certainly do!

“We have become product focused instead of being process and people focused" Karen completely agrees- Hash tag, woeful

“Big question, as a young person, when is this change going to happen? We are all happy to talk about it" – Hash tag, action needs to be taken.

“How do you get employers to be adaptable and recognise how to use new skills?" – Hash tag, B-BAC

So I end this with thanking everyone for making this possible. Thanking speakers, Millennium Point and all of you.

Hope restored? Hash tag, time to make it happen.



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