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Not all young people know how to use technology blasts charity

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​Myth that every millennial is an IT expert has led to many from poorer backgrounds being left behind online in search for jobs and training

Less than half of young people who use the internet to find a job online in Scotland are successful, research has found.

The Prince’s Trust Scotland found that only 45% of those who have attempted to gain employment online managed to do so.

It says young people from poorer backgrounds in particular are at risk of being left behind as they are not being shown how to use technology to find jobs and training opportunities.

The ‘Slipping through the Net’ report, commissioned by the trust in conjunction with Samsung, said the idea that all millennials know how to use technology properly has to be discarded in order to help those being left behind.

We need to dispel the myth that all millennials know how to make the most of the digital world

The trust, which works with disadvantaged people from the ages of 13-30, found that although disadvantaged young people are using information and communications technology (ICT) more to engage in employment related activities, yet they were less likely than their peers to succeed through online.

Worryingly only 20% of young people surveyed in Scotland said they asked for help when using ICT in the last three months.

Even more of a concern was that only 17% of those not in education, training or employment (NEETs) – arguably those who need it the most – had asked for help with using ICTs in the last three months.

When they did ask, these young people relied on a narrower and less expert network of support often unable to teach them sustainable skills, instead of going to professionals such as help desks or teachers.

“We need to dispel the myth that all millennials know how to make the most of the digital world. Many disadvantaged young people, as this research shows, are not achieving positive outcomes online, in particular when it comes to education or employment,” Martina Milburn, chief executive at The Prince’s Trust said.

“The findings show that a lot of young people struggle with social interactions online. We should ensure that these softer social skills, including safeguarding, are included in training programmes.”

The Prince’s Trust Scotland recently opened a digital classroom, sponsored by Samsung, in its employment hub in Glasgow City Centre.

Over 4,500 young people have been supported though the centre, with the classroom providing unemployed young people with equipment and high-quality training to gain the confidence and essential skills needed for today’s job market.

As well as making sure more young people have access to facilities such as afforded at the centre the report also called for employers to examine their own job application processes to avoid them being seen as frustrating experiences.

The report also highlights disadvantaged young people are being held back in the digital world by a lack of social skills.

Around 40% of those surveyed struggled with “netiquette”, that is how they behave online or deal with the negative behaviour of others online.

The report’s author, Dr. Ellen J Helsper, associate professor in media and communications at London School of Economics, said: “Whilst some of the young people we spoke to in the focus groups were resigned to the fact that this is an inevitable consequence of online interactions, many reported taking drastic action such as disconnecting altogether.

“Most of the time, the young people we interviewed in the focus group did not realise that these are skills which could be learnt and used to advance in life. Only more technical skills such as those taught in school, were seen as requiring training.”