Recently I tweeted that almost 70 million Europeans lack adequate reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills at a time when western economies are transforming from being industrial based to requiring more services ,digital and people skills.
Today the speed of change is truly phenomenal. Up to 45% of today’s jobs can be automated . Across Europe thousands of jobs are being lost as artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology replace humans. As a result certain skills are becoming obsolete and those affected require reskilling in order to enter the labour market.
For state education and training systems there is now a momentous challenge to keep the labour force skills up to date and relevant. For example researchers tell us that up to 65% of Generation Z jobs don’t exist yet.
The rapid pace of change and the impact of technology on jobs and the economy is impacting on education and training providers. The challenge for them is how to anticipate the types of knowledge and skills-intensive jobs of the future . How do you deliver skills today for an unknown future ?
While technology is causing the loss of thousand of jobs across Europe technology advances will also create thousand of jobs where workers with computing,mathematics , science and engineering skills will be needed to manage those new technologies.
Today, young people also need to have flexible, transferable skills like good communication and IT skills, critical thinking , an ability to work in groups and having an entrepreneurial outlook. Schools and colleges are working on developing these skills in students because employability is now less about what you know and more about your ability to learn quickly and evolve to a rapidly changing work and social environment.
Multi-disciplinary, generic, flexible skills are what young people today must have. Self-awareness , self-confidence, goal setting and an ability to cope with complexity will grow the leaders of the future. Our schools are becoming more aware that their students must have these skills to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world where the only certainty is change.
All of us must realise that lifelong learning is not the sole preserve of educators and trainers. Learnability is being open to learning different skills throughout our lives. We all need to be flexible and responsive to face a changing world. Our option therefore is to remain literate through constant learning or become the new illiterate. In terms of our own skills it might mean that we will have to run faster to keep up to date . Learning never ends.