13 Sep 2018

Why Upskilling Millennials is a Huge Part of the ‘Birmingham Boom’

By Kate Grantham

By Oxbridge Home Learning, Corporate Member of LoveBrum

@OxbridgeHome | 0333 363 5314 | info@oxbridgehomelearning.uk

Birmingham is widely known as ‘the most rapidly growing economic centre in Europe, the best-connected area outside of London, and one of the youngest cities in Europe with over 35% of its population being aged 25 or under. Known as millennials, this increasing number of young adults are driving the Birmingham Boom, choosing England’s second city for its affordable lifestyle, stirring growth, charitability and multi-culturalism.

From its sprawling city centre to its canals, urban revival and new image, Birmingham offers millennials the advantages of London with the bonus of housing, offices and a bustling entertainment scene closely linked. However, one key aspect is the opportunity available, after all, Birmingham is home to five major universities.  

Oxbridge Home Learning discusses the connection between millennials, learning and upskilling.

By 2020, it’s estimated that millennials will make 35% of the workforce, followed by Generation Z (24%) – over half the population. Working conditions are changing, and millennials are aware of this. Switched on, they know what they want, are more thoughtful and more careful than ever before. We’re living in the age of social media where choices and expressions make waves. And to make an impact, knowledge is power, which is why upskilling is a key perk offered by several Birmingham organisations.

As the children of baby boomers, millennials have grown up at the turn of the digital revolution, and they’re confident in their tech-savvy abilities. They’re fast-paced, hungry for innovation, and thirst for education and personal development. In the past, a university degree would have sustained workers for their entire career, and many would be satisfied with this. Nowadays, upskilling is vital for staying relevant in a fast-changing climate. Millennials know this, and business has adapted as a consequence.

Unlike generations before them, millennials aren’t afraid to jump ship or leave organisations for better career progression, salaries and benefits offered elsewhere. This means that for a business, investing money and resources in upskilling your young employees may seem like a risk when they could up and leave once they’re trained enough to move on. However, if you don’t offer suitable training, your Gen-Y employees will almost definitely be gone before you know it. And this is not just a phenomenon in Birmingham; this can be seen across the country. Upskilling is the new trend and it’s likely set to last.

As a small business owner, it’s critical to understand the driving force behind this surge in learning to better support workers for the benefit of your business goals, employees, Birmingham and its citizens. Many people are motivated by income, employability, advancement or fulfilment. There’s no denying the role social media plays in their decisions, as we see other people living the lifestyles we want, and this motivates us to improve ourselves. Millennials query everything from modern working standards to business ethics in their ambition to rise in the world. If your vision isn’t congruent, you’ve a problem.

What this breaks down to is an examination of life. Millennials are a self-critical generation, hyperaware, and this motivates them to make a difference, stand for something, or find an ideal cause to champion. For them, this means finding a new passion, feeling a revived purpose and feeding their curious minds. Upskilling is exciting because it creates opportunities that weren’t previously available – opportunities that boost skills growth and contribute massively to the boom in business and tourism in Birmingham.

One benefit of upskilling is diversification, which gives young people skills to work across various sectors. Learning can be encouraged as a hobby to keep the mind sharp. If employers listen and challenge their millennials to challenge themselves and the status quo, they’re less likely to leave but will be more likely to praise your brand outside the workplace. A little care goes a long way, and they’ll feel like they belong somewhere worth settling. Just make sure upskilling will make a difference before dedicating money, resources and time into it. There’s satisfaction in self-improvement and watching employees get better at what they do, but the end goal should be part of the bigger picture.

It’s not just about adapting to changing times to fit in, or for good PR, but about growth and personal achievement and betterment of lives and your overall business – especially if it offers value to others.

For this reason, education should be without limits and available to everyone. Nowadays, learning is limitless and transgresses the boundaries of a four-wall classroom. Formal education is something that everybody goes through, but lifelong learning is about how people develop and grow as individuals. It’s time to demystify myths around distance learning so that anybody, regardless of their background, has a chance to learn. This will create an informed Birmingham that younger generations can learn from.

As Birmingham continues to improve and invest in its infrastructure, entertainment, culture and arts, from better road links to the development of the new High-Speed Railway, more commuters and tourists are drawn to the city. Currently, you can access 90% of the UK from Birmingham within 4 hours because of the city’s transport links. Businesses are setting up offices for better connections, costs and networking opportunities, and even Channel 4 has announced that Birmingham could be the channel’s new hub. It’s an exciting time for Birmingham and its dwellers; no wonder the people of the city are growing and thriving just as fast as their home.

Birmingham has its highly ambitious millennial community to thank for their part in its boom. Keeping business owners and citizens on their toes, these young people are tackling the notion that education stops when you begin work. They’re creating a new wave of focused learners and paving the way for future generations to come.

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