Preparing Children For Jobs That Don’t Yet Exist

October 21, 2019 Parenting

Analysts predict that children will enter a workforce where 85% of the jobs that will exist have not yet been created. Technologies, enabled by significant advances in software, will underpin the formation of new human-machine partnerships and bring forth a variety of jobs we couldn’t have even dreamed of in our own childhood.

We sat down to talk about how to guide children who await these futuristic careers with Mr. Graeme Scott, Director of Fairgreen International School, a pioneering education community whose aim is to inspire students to be agents of change, ambassadors of sustainable development, and solution-minded critical thinkers who are ready to partake in careers of the future.

What are some of the skills you predict will be sought after in the next 10 years and beyond

In a coming age where many professions will be turned into algorithms or automated, there will still be some uniquely human skills such as empathy and creativity that will not yet be replicated artificially on a large scale. I believe that it will be personal attributes as much as technical skills that serve our students well in this changing landscape. Alongside preparing our students with innovative STEM-based learning opportunities, we need to focus attention to developing their creativity, curiosity and ability to adapt. Adaptability and flexibility, for example, will support the career switching that we are predicting for our young people. Self-management and resilience will also be essential attributes in tomorrow’s global society.

What steps is Fairgreen taking to prepare their students for this kind of future?

At Fairgreen, we have a balanced approach to these challenges. We are running programmes such as ‘Design, Engineer, Construct’ that involve students interacting with architects, surveyors, designers and engineers and learning to use industry-standard software to design and build unique structures and infrastructure, using their creativity and technology to solve real-world problems. At the same time, we are training our teachers in mindfulness practices so that they can be more aware of some of the stresses our students may be facing and providing them with tools to manage this stress and ensure it doesn’t turn into distress. We are always looking for links with the outside world and enabling our students to get the very best teaching and learning from within Fairgreen, and also some unique opportunities from the world around them.

In what ways do you see that changing traditional education?

Education has always been a slow mover, whether that be in schools or universities. Many university classes now look very similar to how they looked 50 years ago. I do predict industry recruiting the next bright young things from high schools more than just from universities. Also, in an age where, according to Vladimir Putin, ‘liberalism is obsolete,’ my selfish prediction/hope is that our students spend at least as much time looking outwards as inwards, and focus on how they can be productive members of a global society. As international schools, we have a responsibility to teach and encourage international mindedness and care for all.

As computers/technology plays a huge role in emerging and yet-to-be jobs, how do you see that affecting our current view on “excessive screen time” when it comes to children?

Some of the research on the impact of more screen time on young people actually isn’t as frightening as we might think. However, it’s very important that we set aside time for disconnection from devices and learn how to manage a more mindful existence, disconnection. I do think that hiding our children from technology will do them a disservice in the high-tech world they live in and will ultimately work in. What is needed is a responsible approach to using technology. Any routine task that can be done more efficiently by technology will be, so long as it is cheaper than employing a human to do that job. This is why we need to teach children how creativity, critical thinking and genuine problem identification and problem solving are skills and dispositions they need to learn, practice and hone.

What can parents do to further help prepare their children?

Despite the proliferation of technology in our world, our ‘humanness’ is still as important as ever. In a list of the top ten skills needed for 2020, produced by the World Economic Forum, skills such as emotional intelligence, judgment and decision-making, and people management stand proud as skills we can teach in school and at home. Modelling positivity is also important if our children are to see the world as a place of opportunity rather than threat. Above all, parents can support their children in following their passions, or if they don’t know what they are yet, their curiosities, and be less focused on traditional measures of success. Simply by opening up opportunities for your children to explore and create, you will be helping them develop their natural interests and passions, which is the foundation for success no matter what career choice they make. It’s an exciting and unpredictable world out there!

For additional guidance on how we can best prepare our children for a future work-life unlike anything we know today, Fairgreen International School invites parents to attend their next Open Day with a presentation by Director Graeme Scott on “Jobs that Don’t Exist Yet: How to Prepare for Them?”

Learn about careers of the future, and how to prepare learners to thrive in these unusual roles!

When: Wednesday, October 30 at 8:30am
Where: Fairgreen International School
To RSVP click here

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