In the face of such monumental change, what will it take to create equality of opportunity for every young person? Future Talent LIVE founder, Jim Carrick-Birtwell, reflects on our inaugural conference, held last week in London.
The world of work, and indeed, humankind, is facing unprecedented change with the move into a fourth industrial revolution. This is characterised by emerging technology breakthroughs in almost every area of our lives – with artificial intelligence and biotech set to transform how we work and how we live.
The academic Yuval Harari asks the question: “How can we prepare ourselves and our children for a world of such unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties…what should we teach a baby born today that will help him or her survive and flourish in the world of 2050 or of the 22nd century? What kind of skills will he or she need in order to get a job, understand what is happening around them, and navigate the maze of life?”
Call me an optimist, but herein lies the opportunity.
There is an opportunity to re-boot, to break down the status quo and challenge the stereotypes of what young people should be able to achieve”
Navigating an uncertain future
If we can no longer be certain about the future, including things that seemed fixed and eternal, then there is an opportunity to re-boot, to break down the status quo and challenge the stereotypes of what young people should or shouldn’t be able to achieve based on their family background, gender, geography, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.
We cannot legislate for what young people will end up doing, because none of us know, but we can work together to create an environment where equality of opportunity and social mobility are hard-wired into our systems for every young person.
That’s, in essence, what Future Talent LIVE is all about.
We can work together to create an environment where equality of opportunity and social mobility are hard-wired into our systems for every young person”
Our aim is to support an information exchange between educators and employers to help bring the world of work to life for the next generation. We are driven by a mission to create equality of opportunity for every young person.
Transitions from education to employment
We’re delighted to be working with a fantastic range of partners, all of whom understand the zeitgeist. Better and more varied transitions from education into employment can only be achieved through greater connectedness between these worlds.
ASCL, under the leadership of Carl Ward as President last year, has been a huge advocate for the need for education to embrace an understanding of what is needed to prepare young people for the world of work.
The Careers & Enterprise Company has been tasked with creating efficiency in the careers space. Under the leadership of Claudia Harris it has piloted ‘what works’ and has been instrumental in informing the recent Careers Strategy from the Government.
The Strategy highlights the need to help young people understand the range of opportunities and pathways into employment, including apprenticeships, that are available; as well as how to acquire the skills and qualifications necessary to succeed in the workplaces of the future.
It has also called for the creation of the new ‘Careers Leader’ role, and we were delighted to welcome many of them – as well as head teachers and other members of senior leadership teams from secondary schools and colleges – to our inaugural Future Talent LIVE conference, held last Thursday at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Practical support for teachers
At Future Talent LIVE, we know that we must prioritise world-class support for educators. Our conferences and events provide live opportunities to share insights about the future of work, and also introductions to some of the highly practical tools and resources freely available to educators and careers leaders.
Practical support for teachers’ everyday work will come in the form of content and insights from employers and partners in a termly Future Talent magazine – print and digital versions are being distributed to every school in the country – and our futuretalentlive.com website will provide real time daily insights, aiming to ‘bring the world of work to life’.
Collectively, we recognise what an enormous and brilliant job teachers are doing. We know how pressured, time-starved, and resource challenged you are. Our commitment is to serve up content that is mapped to the system you’ve been tasked with delivering against – the Gatsby Benchmarks – and to also provide it in forms that can seamlessly support you across the whole curriculum.
We cannot solve the enormous challenges of our time in isolation: we must solve them together”
Our inaugural conference brought together luminaries from across education, business, sport and society, for a day of TED-style keynotes and panel discussions providing insights about leadership, future skill requirements, and mental health and wellbeing for staff and students.
We heard about the skills that we will all need to thrive, including the ability to be life-long learners. We looked at employability skills and the need to prepare our young people to be work-ready.
In a climate of continuous change, our ability to adapt and make successful transitions will also be key. In conversation with Alastair Campbell, Sir Clive Woodward shared his practical insights around leading through change.
We also examined mental ill-health – sadly one of the downsides of the pace and scale of change, the inexorable advances in technology, and the disruption to the familiar patterns of our lives – with schools and colleges facing escalating numbers of staff and students in need of support. How we confront, de-stigmatise and positively manage this is central to the wellbeing of all of us and our children.
So, what can we do about all of this, as individuals, and as organisations?
I believe that we cannot solve the enormous challenges of our time in isolation: we must solve them together. We may come from different backgrounds, and be at different stages in our lives, but we hold common hopes for a better future, for ourselves and our children.
As Hamlet said: ‘the readiness is all’.
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