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News & Comment COVID-19

Millennials and Gen Zers are learning new skills in lockdown

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Lockdown has turned routine upside down for most of us in the UK. Having to sacrifice our social life means we’ve all got far more time on our hands, and without the commute to an office – or the ability to go to bars and restaurants – most of us are spending more time at home than ever before.

You might feel like life’s a lot quieter, and there’s a lot of time to fill. So it’s probably no surprise that people are using this time to learn a new skill or try a new activity to pass the time – recent SpareRoom research found that 61% of under-35s have been doing just that.

So what exactly has this 61% been up to?

  • Educational activities – 43% of this group have used the time to learn new languages, take an online course or learn how to code
  • Developing business opportunities – 13% have focussed on their side hustle and tried to develop a new business idea
  • Focussing on fitness – 75% are spending more time sweating
  • Cooking – 54% are ramping up those culinary skills
  • Getting creative – 67% are trying things like painting, learning an instrument or photography
  • Mindfulness – 14% have been practising being more present and mastering the act of meditation
  • Home improvements – 23% have been sprucing up their nest by redecorating, gardening, fixing things around the house, or trying a bit of DIY

Doing puzzles, learning TikTok moves and calligraphy also appeared on the list of skills and activities under-35s have been trying over the last two months.

While this skills boom is nothing but a good thing, we wondered whether they would have a lasting effect once lockdown is lifted and normality resumes. Turns out, 89% said they wanted to keep their new skill up long term – 39% reckoned they could even transfer what they’ve learned to their job.

It’s great to see so many people using their free time constructively to learn something new, and we can only hope this leads to a skills boom once lockdown ends. After all, it would be amazing to see something so positive emerge from what has been a truly difficult and testing time for us all.

Research conducted by SpareRoom in 2020 with 3,906 UK flatsharers & lodgers, aged 18-34.

Image credit: @hudsoncrafted.

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