The world of work is changing.
Increased automation, workplace diversity, an ageing population and the rise of the freelance economy have all had profound effects on how we work. With our workplaces changing rapidly (it’s estimated that most students who began school last year will work in roles that don’t even exist yet) how can we be sure that we’re prepared?
That’s was the problem tackled by participants at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (G20YEA) roundtable in Sydney recently. Managed by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) the purpose of the G20YEA is to identify current issues that need to be addressed by governments across the world. Made up of a 500,000 strong network of young entrepreneurs around the world, the G20YEA aims to drive economic renewal, job creation, innovation and social change.
Devika’s Ken attended the education regroup at the recent Sydney roundtable. Aware of the changing face of education, Ken and the team looked into how private learning enterprises can assist in preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow. In the next 20 years the skills that jobs will require are likely to be vastly different from today, with an overwhelming demand for STEM skills expected. Everyone from primary schools through to tertiary educators are adapting to the changing workplace too slowly, tending to focus on traditional teaching methods and skills. In an increasingly tech-heavy world you can see how this approach to education could be unhelpful.
The solution? Bring educational institutions into the 21st century by modernising the standard by which we measure success and implementing alternative education pathways. Skills across the STEM fields, as well as in areas such as entrepreneurship and enterprise will be crucial in tomorrow’s workforce. By taking some of the up-skilling burden off traditional educators (i.e. schools, universities) and placing it onto alternative learning facilitators (like Devika) our communities can help ensure as many people as possible get the skills they need to succeed.
The idea to put some of the responsibility of education onto private suppliers is not new. Overseas institutions such as the Minerva Institute are regarded as groundbreaking for their merit-based applications and focus on innovation. Given the fast-pace at which technology is currently developing, it’s a full-time job for tech specialists to stay up-to-date, let alone teachers. Outsourcing some skills to alternative learning pathways can help relieve pressure on our traditional educators.
Preparing now for the workforce of tomorrow saves Australia from experiencing a skills shortage. Of course this all depends on getting approval from the Department of Education - something which Devika has already taken steps to ensure. With a bit of luck the recommendations made during the Sydney G20YEA roundtable will be taken on by the government and worked into new education policies.
No matter what, it’s vital we guarantee Australia is taking steps to be ready for our STEM-focused future.