If you’re like many parents of my younger Career Direction clients (aged between 15 and 24) or indeed in that age bracket yourself, you may well worry about the impact both automation and Covid have had on career opportunities and prospects. Often the main message is one of ‘doom and gloom’; fewer jobs, intense competition and pressure to constantly reinvent yourself in order to earn a living.
In the spirit of trying to be a little more positive, I wanted to draw your attention to career areas that are growing and need talent. In part 1, I outlined five career areas that offer good prospects for younger applicants. Now I introduce the second five.
What is it? Here I’m thinking of careers at sea and on shore including within the Royal Navy (aviation, chaplaincy, engineering, logistics, medical and warfare within surface fleet and submarines) and the Merchant Navy (collective term for commercial shipping). Careers can centre around boat building, inland waterways (careers associated with our rivers, lakes reservoirs and canals), ports and harbours, naval architecture (the design, construction and repair of ships) boats and offshore structures, and of course many business support services. Examples of the kinds of careers recruiting include all types of engineer, naval architecture and ports and leisure boatbuilding.
What skills could be needed? This will, of course, depend on your area of interest but for naval architecture the ability to produce and understand drawings and plans, good report writing skills and some creativity would likely be useful. The other good news is that there are numerous apprenticeships and cadetships (for the Merchant Navy) on offer making them attractive to teenagers who don’t want to go down the university route.
What is it? Well, we all know what nursing is, don’t we? Yet perhaps sometimes we forget just how wide ranging a career this can be with opportunities to specialise in different types of child and adult care (accident & emergency, cancer, intensive care, sexual health) as well as working in the community, perhaps in a GP practice, a residential nursing home, the prison service, on a cruise ship or within occupational health.
What skills could be needed? The ability to communicate and build trust with those in your care; empathy and sensitivity and also resilience and ability to manage stress. Being organised can come in handy too.
What is it? The design, development and maintenance of electrical control systems and parts. Electricians are needed everywhere – in homes, offices, factories, laboratories, hospitals, stadiums, retail parks as well as in transport, construction and the distribution of power itself. An electrician can be involved in lighting, heating, ventilation, fire and security.
What skills could be needed? Aptitude for developing the technical skills necessary, the ability to communicate and work in a team, flexibility to adapt to ever changing and evolving technologies.
What is it? It’s like a more modern-day version of a statistician. Data analysts or managers collect, study and analyse data in order to provide meaningful insights that business leaders and other major decision-makers can draw on to make informed decisions. It’s an area of significant growth and opportunity partly because leaders seek sound objective information on which to base their decisions but perhaps more importantly because the volume and value of data ‘out there’ is growing exponentially (think of the data Google collects, for example). Data analysts can be found everywhere including consulting, finance, government, technology, education, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.
What skills could be needed? You need to be highly analytical, have strong mathematical skills and be happy playing with spreadsheets, and other data management software. You also need to be curious, like a detective trying to figure out the meaning behind data.
What is it? If I’m being honest, many of my career direction clients would not want to consider social care as a career. This is partly because it is perceived as stressful and not well paid. Nevertheless, I include it in this list because it is a very important role that can offer deep job satisfaction. Adult social care is also most definitely a growing sector, and one that could offer good prospects for the right youngsters.
What skills could be needed? Patience, empathy, ability to cope with pressure and routine tasks, good communication skills and willingness to ‘muck-in’. The beauty of care work is that lack of academic qualifications is not a barrier to entry but can still offer good prospects for promotion and growth on completion of qualifications at a later stage. The option to specialise in, for example, dementia care or hospice work, is also available.