Ireland is experiencing an unemployment and education crisis. Too many children leave formal education after primary school, while the country faces a shortage of both skilled workers and jobs for young people. The number of employed people aged 15-24 fell over 14% percent in 2020, with the pandemic accelerating what was already a concern . And according to Hays Ireland, a recruitment firm, even pre-pandemic, 92% of employers experienced skill shortages in 2019 .
Keeping Irish youth in school and providing job training can help future-proof a workforce that needs an influx of skilled workers. That’s why NortonLifeLock, in partnership with Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), is volunteering with New Cross College in Dublin, Ireland.
The initiative, called the World of Work Program, aims to tackle the retention rates in post-primary schools, while concurrently developing a pipeline of talent for Irish businesses. The objective is to introduce students to the work environment, share roles and career paths with them, and equip students with soft skills including presentation, communication, teamwork, and collaboration skills.
The World of Work program is running in almost 150 schools in Ireland, engaging with over 3,500 students aged 13 and 14 during the academic year. This year, the programme was fully virtual due to the pandemic, with sessions delivered online. In future years, it will be offered online and in person, and will include a site visit to the NortonLifeLock Dublin office.
In May, we had our final session of the World of Work Program, where students presented back their learnings about NortonLifeLock, personal branding, Cyber Safety, and career paths in supply chain, gaming, finance, and IT. Dedicated NortonLifeLock volunteers provided expertise and insight over several weeks of sessions, lending their time and enthusiasm to the appreciative and engaged students.
In addition to participating in career days, NortonLifeLock volunteers have also offered students Cyber Safety workshops. After the final session, two students reached out to our volunteers in search of mentors to help them on career paths related to our work.
“We learned about mentoring and setting goals, and how our speakers got to where they are now. These speakers offered us great advice about being passionate about what you do, and skilling up to prepare yourself for the workforce,” said one excited student.
It clearly had an impact on the teachers as well, many of whom noted the impact that World of Work has on their students, and the importance of having a global brand like NortonLifeLock involved.
“It was so exciting to not just tell these students about the opportunities in front of them, but actually show them the jobs they could grow into, thanks to the NortonLifeLock volunteers,” said Mairead O'Brien, a New Cross College teacher. “They shared valuable advice that motivated our kids and enriched a program we were already so proud of.”
Ireland is one of the communities that NortonLifeLock calls home. And thanks in part to this new partnership, we’re thrilled to continue to provide opportunities for the next generation of workers.
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