Avengers Assemble: future-proofing skills for employment

Avengers Assemble: future-proofing skills for employment

Published on: 
Wednesday, 24 July 2019

By Rebecca Lynch, Director

Jermain Jackman, former Chair of the Islington Fair Futures Commission, opened our recent panel debate on future-proofing skills for employment, with a rallying call to business, schools and the wider community, to assemble, to ensure young people had life skills and soft skills to succeed in the future economy. He called us Avengers.

For those of you without children, or a fascination with sci-fi – Avengers are superheroes. And how apt given the subject matter of our event was the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Our working world is changing beyond comprehension. 30% of current jobs are expected to be automated by the mid-2030s. Many other jobs will evolve with the advent of automation and AI. An estimated 58 million new jobs will be created (net), and to give you a sense of the scale and pace of change it is estimated that 65% of current primary school children will hold a job that does not yet exist.

The skills required for this emerging economy are changing, with many jobs requiring ‘softer skills’ such as empathy, creativity and social intelligence. While arguably this new reality should make working ‘more human’ and rewarding there are significant challenges for our education and business sectors in re-gearing the way we prepare young people for the world of work and support older residents to transition jobs.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution also risks putting our vulnerable populations at a double disadvantage in the future, due to a lack of awareness of these changes, and the opportunity or means to adapt to this emerging economy.

Audience at the Forum

Our recent event on future proofing skills for employment, was focused on how businesses can work with the local community to prevent this double disadvantage and prepare local residents for the future world of work.

A stellar line-up of speakers, including Jess Hyde - Accenture, Emma Sutherland - Nesta, Tim Mulvihill - Macquarie, Jo Dibb - local Executive Head Teacher and Jermain Jackman, with input from the audience, identified the following eight ways the Avengers could assemble to support local residents prepare for the future world of work:

  1. Create more meaningful work experience for young people
  2. More business mentoring of local residents
  3. A strong focus on ‘soft skill’ development such as creativity, problem-solving and communication skills
  4. Help people understand their soft skill strengths – are they a builder, a creative or a negotiator?
  5. Create a mindset for continuous learning
  6. Support parents, teachers and students alike to navigate the future world of work
  7. Real models are just as important as role models
  8. Children should be engaged earlier, when in junior school

The BIG Alliance will be working with its membership and through its education and skills programmes to focus on preparing local Islington residents for the future world of work. If you are a business interested in hearing more about our work and how you can get involved please contact rebecca.lynch@thebigalliance.org.uk