Parents are out of touch with the skills children need to get a career in an increasingly digital job market, according to a panel of education and technology industry experts.
Speaking at a Tech London Advocates event attended by V3, Mark Fawcett, chief executive of the National Schools Partnership, said that parents push their children to go to university ignorant of the digital skills they will need to find employment after graduating.
"Over three quarters of young people's first port of call for careers advice and subject advice is their parents. And never before has a generation of parents been more out of touch with the job market their children are going into," he said.
"Parents are still pushing university because 50 percent of young people were a target a while ago to get into university, which suits a lot of them."
Fawcett outlined how the Greater London Authority is helping to connect schools and teachers with digital-focused organisations that "help bring technology alive", which he believes will improve the way digital skills are taught in the region's schools.
However, Fawcett warned that parents need to be aware of the influence of digital technology on the job market and the career opportunities on offer.
As such, he suggested that the education and technology sectors need to make parents aware of the career opportunities in the digital industry.
"If you can help to inspire parents, they will then advise and support their young people to make subject and career choices that lead them towards a technology background," he said.
Teacher and technology advocate Mark Martin added that schools need to engage more with the community to teach parents about technology so that the digital skills of children are improved.
He went on to say that parents and school leaders still focus on traditional jobs rather than the new positions created in the technology industry.
"It's not about traditional jobs, it's about the digital jobs that are going to impact our industry and empower these kids to go out and make a difference," he said.
The Tech London Advocates panel emphasised that part of the challenge to educate teachers, parents and children in the advantages of technology involves finding ways to "bring the digital world to life" and build awareness and excitement around digital skills and the subsequent career opportunities.
Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of digital training firm Decoded, believes that the jargon in the technology industry needs to be removed and that digital skills should be presented as accessible to all.
She added that schools must inspire children to get involved in technology, although she believes that the current education model may not be able to achieve this without external help from organisations such as Decoded.
"I think there is a fundamental flaw in education itself in its ability to be inspiring, enlightening and to ignite your imagination in what's possible, specifically in technology," Parsons said.
"It's quite hard to take in an entire world of knowledge and condense it, not only into a short period of time, but to make it incredibly exciting and accessible for people."
Despite the positive goals of the panel and Decoded, Parsons said that people in positions of leadership need to be told about the importance of digital skills and talent, as she believes "everyone is a sceptic" when it comes to teaching and adopting non-traditional subjects and skills.
Ed Vaizey, minister with responsibility for Digital Industries, also spoke at the Tech London Advocates event where he declared that the technology industry needs to work in tandem with education if digital skills are to grow in the UK.
The government may have to address the fact that poor web access is standing in the way of schools being able to teach digital skills before it pushes any more collaborative initiatives.
With coding now a compulsory subject in schools across England, V3 has taken a closer look at the key points of the curriculum shake-up.
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