Filling the youth skills gap: ITIL 4 and service management

Students at a lecture in college

Today, in big tech companies, we increasingly hear about people having a “growth mindset”. That means continually pushing yourself to learn and explore different professional certifications.

In essence, employers view people like this as going the extra mile, wanting to understand how the working world is changing and how they can contribute to it.

Therefore, companies are now placing greater emphasis on the professional learning and development younger people receive while still in education.

Developing employability earlier

My own work with a college in the US has revealed what’s often now working in the curriculum: for example, students regurgitating information is a relic of the industrial revolution era.

Instead, we’re at a point where there’s been so much change in our daily lives, education needs to re-focus on the professional skills that young people need. This isn’t about replacing the current college curriculums but enhancing them.

So, why should university students anywhere in the world be allowed to acquire professional skills alongside their core studies and what’s the value in those skills including managing IT as a service through ITIL® 4?

Why service management?

Much in IT is changing to become technology delivered as a service. Therefore, it’s important for young learners to understand the language involved and how these services function.

This is key, as about 80% of software developers are no longer working for traditional IT companies, but in sectors as diverse as banks and farming.

Simultaneously, I’ve noticed a greater number of students questioning how their college education will help their employment prospects. This raises the question of “baking in” industry-recognized certifications alongside degree courses.

So, how can this be taught? One example for getting hands-on experience could be by creating a makeshift service desk using IT tools and best practices. Mapping out the workflow of creating something like a document management database for the school or helping out a local non-profit organization would be developing valuable skills.

Even students studying liberal arts rather than science and technology would benefit from a certain level of knowledge, as these skills become more necessary to function in the working world.

And while kids today are widely exposed to technology through social media applications, a modernized curriculum could move them from just consuming IT services to also creating them.

ITIL 4 – getting the bigger picture

The concepts in ITIL 4 can bring together important ideas about service management and help young people to understand and manage these approaches holistically.

The guidance and certification offer a breadth of knowledge and experience in managing services plus a big picture and holistic view of how everything in an organization connects to create value.

But introducing ITIL 4 into already busy curriculums in universities needs a paradigm shift: students need to realize that their education is a task that’s never completed, but continual.

In turn, colleges need to recognize that introducing professional certifications is worth doing, both for the future employability of their students and the value the institution offers beyond an academic education.

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