Education now must make the pivotal move to focus on the future workforce

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There has been a lot of discussion recently around the technological disruption of the education sector around the world. technology has been making its mark in the industry for quite some time now, so this kind of conversation is nothing new at this point. What is new, however, is the discussion around how education must now pivot to prepare students (both current and future) for a workforce that includes jobs that do not even exist yet. We are amid an era that is developing new technologies and digitalisation techniques at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to keep up. Traditionally, higher education was challenging enough and so is the application process to graduate schools. For example, law school applicants have to commit significant energy and time to LSAT prep, including seeking for LSAT tutoring from highly experienced LSAT tutors in order to improve their score to gain entry into reputable law schools. These days, the reality is that students must be maintaining that level of dedication, but also committing to their futures by making use of modern teachings as well.

The catch-22 there is that they can only undertake those modern teachings if they are made available to them. And this is where the education sector as well as the business industry must work collaboratively to forge a stronger, more unique approach to education. It is an extremely fine line to walk between keeping education in alignment with the traditional ideals that work, and incorporating modern teaching and learning methods and models to strengthen those initial ideals. The goal in education is always to prepare students for the workforce once they complete their studies and graduate. The issue we face right now is that what happens as the current generations of student graduate is unknown. Some of the jobs that currently exist still will, but others will have been modernised or entirely replaced with technologically-advanced communication, teaching, and learning methods. That is just the way it is.

Most of the children and young adults in the education system now will walk into careers that are not even existent yet. The education system – and, by default, the businesses that forge the workforce – must be willing and able to keep up with that reality. There is no other option anymore. This is the kind of world we exist in, and technological advancement and further digitalisation are going to reign supreme in the future workforce. Students must be ready and prepared for that. The students of the past focused all their energies on studying for their upcoming examinations. These ideals are still crucially important in education, and they always will be. There is no doubt about that fact. But now more than ever, we are seeing the disruption of technology begin to dramatically change industries the world over. That has had – and will continue to have – more direct and more significant implications for the workforce.

This is especially true the further these innovations stretch on. As many as 65% of current students will eventually go on to create their careers in jobs that are not even a reality yet. This is a climate of uncertainty, and the schools and universities should be focusing on developing critical thinking more than ever. The students of today – consequently the career-driven individuals of tomorrow – must be able to do more than observe. They must be able to give authentic, informative, and creative input from any and all angles. The fact of the matter is that the future workforce is one that we cannot even begin to draft for these kids now. All we can do is teach them the critical thinking and skills that have the potential for the biggest positive impact on their futures. This is a global shift in focus that is vital for academics today and in the future.

With so many current jobs being vulnerable to potential automation (or even simply a tech-driven overhaul that keeps individuals holding these careers firmly in place), there has never been a stronger call for critical thinking and creative encouragement. The education sector is currently going through multiple modernisations, and while some of those modernisations are quite familiar, there are others that are alien. One of these alienating concepts is the [now] definitive fact that the workforce of the future is going to be vastly different to the one that exists now. While some of the careers that are currently in motion will survive this transition, others will be modernised or entirely replaced.

The workforce of the future demands that the education system now – which is full of the students that will walk into this uncertain future workforce – better prepares its students for that future as best it can. One of the tactics in motion should be businesses aligning themselves with the education to better prepare students for a workforce that they are not at all familiar with. This is a process that is happening right now, but it must gain significant traction before the students of today – and tomorrow – are even remotely ready to step into a workforce that is ripe with completely new jobs and career options.

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