The coronavirus pandemic could result in lowered salaries, loss of opportunities and uncertainty for the future, a new report from Aberdeen City Council has stated.
Councillors in the education operational delivery committee will hear a report when the committee meets next Thursday around difficulties that may be experienced by senior phase pupils at schools around Aberdeen due to Covid-19.
Concerns have been raised about the impact the pandemic might have on young people, particularly within industries such as hospitality and oil and gas, with warnings there might be fewer opportunities available to them in the coming months and years.
A report which will be heard by councillors next Thursday when the committee meets also stated there was widespread agreement that those who leave education over the next few years “will be more negatively impacted than their peers who left school pre-lockdown.”
Some of the ways it’s anticipated that Covid-19 will impact those leaving education include a reduction in salaries for young people and those in low skilled roles, and a reduction in the number of apprenticeship opportunities due to concerns around health and safety, and less physical opportunities available for work experience.
There may also be a loss of opportunities in previously popular choices such as hospitality, an increased number of people staying on in school, young people feeling uncertain of their future and receiving high levels of support and curricular choices made previously no longer equipping young people with the skills they require.
The report states: “The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted on the local opportunities available to young people in the city and placed a number of restrictions on school life.
“Schools are currently working within the restrictions to identify any loss of learning and support the wellbeing of young people as they come to terms with the current situation whilst building their resilience and adaptability.
“The landscape is changing rapidly and it is imperative that officers continue to work with Economic Development and Skills Development Scotland to keep abreast of emerging trends.”
The report also adds that certain groups may be more adversely impacted than others, such as those with a disability due to less extensive pathways available to support the transition, girls who are more likely to leave school and take up ‘relatively low skilled’ jobs in sectors which have diminished, those living in poverty, those from ethnic minority communities and care experienced young people.
It’s expected that in the short-term, demand is likely to come from health and social work, education and childcare, retail, food and drink, digital and construction industries as the top-employing sectors.
Moving into medium-term this is anticipated to change to tourism, digital and green energy, wholesale and retail, health and social care, life and chemical sciences, accommodation and food services and manufacturing and processing.”
To ensure young people are given the best possible chance in the future, it’s anticipated that the curriculum may have to be reviewed, and the digital skills of all learners increased.
School leavers may be prioritised, however, there will be a focus on ensuring S3 and S4 are still supported, as well as ensuring the availability and ease of access to mental health support.
Next steps will also include encouraging youngsters to get involved in volunteering to build their skillset and introduce apprenticeship pathway programmes for those finding employer-led programmes or employment difficult to find.