WITH the Institute for Public Policy Research predicting that youth unemployment could again go through the million mark this year, the government’s skills experts have offered an insight into which jobs are likely to offer the best chance of a long-term career.

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Alex Curling, assistant director of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), said: “We are in the middle of a mini baby boom, and we also have an ageing population, so it is a pretty safe bet that we shall need more teachers, as well as more healthcare workers.

“In both cases, it is crucial to think more widely than just one job description. As well as teachers, think teaching assistants. As well as doctors, think dentists, nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and related professions like physiotherapists, optometrists and radiographers.”

The UKCES is a UK-wide social partnership between employers, trade unions and the public sector. It works to galvanise employers to improve the skills of their workforces and invest in skills, especially in vocational training, and enhance employment opportunities. The UKCES also publishes world-class research to understand long-term patterns and trends in employment and skills in the UK.

Alex explained how to identify what will be the jobs of the future. “Whatever the economic climate, there will always be jobs which will definitely be required. Of course these will change over time, and it is essential to be aware of current and future trends.

“For example, changes in the way we work and in the way companies buy in skills have led to an increase in the number of professional freelance managers and consultants.

“Scientists and engineers will continue to be in demand, and it is a fairly safe bet that we shall continue to need plenty of software developers. Getting skilled up for one of these is potentially a good move.

Alex added: “Jobs which we shall probably see declining in the UK range from typists to postal workers, those working on production lines and in mines and quarries and also some retail workers.

“Then there are jobs that are gambles – these are not sure-fire winners but they have the potential to be highly rewarding and interesting careers.

“Recessions can act a bit like bush fires – clearing away the deadwood of old, stagnant businesses to make way for young and ambitious ones to flourish. So if you think you have a business in you, now could be a great time to start up your own company.

“Some really exciting opportunities are already being offered by young businesses born in the depth of the recession. UKCES has conducted research showing that growing young companies are far more likely to be hiring and developing staff than their more established counterparts.

“There are a huge range of other ‘gambles’ ranging from dancers and orchestral musicians to biomedical engineers and nano-technologists.

“One thing is sure. In these uncertain times, the more skills and qualifications you have, and the more flexible your approach, the better your chance of having a good career.”

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