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Preventing a lost generation – skills crisis brewing for UK’s digital future

85% of young people surveyed indicated they didn’t learn the skills at school which would be useful for today’s digital forward jobs


The&Partnership commissioned YouGov to survey 2,000 young people aged 16 to 24


The&Academy in Birmingham, launched by The&Partnership this September, will prepare more young people for the 21st century workplace leveraging partnerships with Meta, TikTok and Google


Backed by Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands


London, UK, Thursday 10th November 2022: The&Partnership partnered with YouGov to establish young people’s attitudes to skills training and further education. Set against the Government’s ambition to be a ‘global tech superpower’, the research revealed concerning evidence that young people are being underprepared for the UK’s growing digital jobs market.

It showed that:

  • 85% of young people surveyed in the UK feel they didn’t learn workplace skills for digital forward jobs such as computer office skills, knowledge of tech platforms, computer coding, financial skills, and employability skills, and wish they had a chance to learn it in school.
  • Almost half (45%) of young people are unaware of apprenticeship schemes that can train and arm them for digital jobs relevant today.
  • 42% feel that they were not equipped with workplace and employability skills during formal education.
  • The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has pushed one-in-three to say they are unlikely to pursue higher education.

The&Partnership has developed The&Academy, a new apprenticeship scheme, to address the growing talent crunch within the creative, digital and media fields. Leveraging partnerships with some of the best in the digital realm including Meta, TikTok and Google, The&Academy is set to shape the next generation of talent by providing them with skills crucial for the first step on the career ladder. The first centre of excellence in media and creative is situated in The&Academy’s purpose-built campus in Digbeth, Birmingham.


Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Birmingham and the wider West Midlands is alive with creative and entrepreneurial talent. The&Academy is well placed to tap into this energy and provides the sort of 21st Century opportunity our young people need to thrive in the world of work, enjoy a great quality of life and have compelling reasons to stay in our wonderful region. I look forward to watching the progress of the apprentices in the months and years ahead.”


Johnny Hornby, Founder and Chairman of The&Partnership said: “Work is changing and we know digital skills will be needed in the vast majority of jobs in the future*. This recent research gives us a real look into the psyche of young people as they navigate their career paths during turbulent times. There’s some worrying evidence that they are being let down in digital skills and I’m pleased The&Academy in Birmingham can start to address that.


“Our focus is on building the next generation of talent, empowering young apprentices from all backgrounds with critical skills spanning tech, data and digital for both the creative industries and the economy at large. This programme is what the UK, its young people and its businesses need right now. Digital skills are more important than ever and it is vital that we all play our part in enabling the next generation to thrive and help to drive a sustainable, inclusive economic recovery in the UK.”




Notes to the editor:

  1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.
  2. Total sample size was 2001 respondents.
  3. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th – 19th September 2022. The survey was carried out online.
  4. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all 16–24-year-olds in the UK.
  5. *Source:

About The&Academy:

The&Academy is a new apprenticeship programme created to shape the next generation of digital and creative specialists. It will take on up to 25 apprentices between the ages of 18 and 24 from Birmingham and the surrounding area, to drive entry level talent into the industry.

The&Academy will work to attract talent from underrepresented groups who may not ordinarily consider careers in the industry. In year 1, the programme will be offering apprenticeships across both media and creative disciplines, for training developed with Meta, Google and TikTok.


About The&Partnership:

The&Partnership is both the UK & Europe’s fastest-growing independent agency network, increasingly known for its innovative in-sourced model.


Backed by WPP and spanning five continents, the 1500-strong multi-disciplined agency group has seen four continuous years of record growth against a challenging industry backdrop.


It attributes this rapid expansion to the success of its in-sourced ‘&Model’ agencies, with multi-disciplined, on-site teams working alongside clients’ marketing departments in new, nimble ways, to a single bottom line; delivering data-driven work to fit new marketing agendas. Designed to meet clients’ growing need for maximum speed, agility, cost-effectiveness and integration, these multi-disciplined ‘&Model’ agencies are driving impressive results for clients including News Corp, Centrica, NatWest, Toyota, TELUS and Mars.


The&Partnership is partnered with global media planning and buying network mSix&Partners through a joint venture with GroupM.



About mSix&Partners

mSix&Partners is one of the fastest growing media agencies in the world. A progressive and entrepreneurial media network that was born digital, the agency is led by its partners who pride themselves on a pioneering, energetic approach and honest culture.


With over 40 offices worldwide, mSix&Partners is backed by WPP, the world’s largest communications agency network, and embraces a unique ownership structure between The&Partnership and GroupM.


mSix&Partners are powered by this partnership to go Further, Faster for its clients. They specialise in driving business growth by creating bespoke, dedicated, multi-disciplinary teams that closely partner client marketing operations with data and technology placed firmly at the heart.


The agency measures all success across the triple bottom line: people, planet & profit. These pillars inform everything they do as equal forces in its own agency business plan, underpinned by technology, data & analytics products.


Client partners include Electronic Arts, Toyota, Lexus, News Corp, Discovery, Whirlpool and Fossil.



For more information, contact:

Tanu Anand / Global Head of Communications, The&Partnership / +447501078588

Poppy Barnes / Head of Marketing, mSix&Partners / +447870265414




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