28 Mar ENGAGING FUTURES – The next gen and implications for the higher education engagement agenda.
Jan is a highly regarded social entrepreneur, innovator, influencer and author who has spent the past 25 years growing Australia’s youth, social enterprise and innovation sectors. In 2012 she was named Australia’s inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac Woman of Influence; in 2014 she received the Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney; and was awarded membership to the Order of Australia in 2000. She is the author of Every Childhood Lasts a Lifetime (1996) and The Future Chasers (2014). Jan is the CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians and YLab, the global youth futures lab. Her lifelong mission is to unleash the potential of young people to lead positive change in the world.
the next gen and implications for the higher education engagement agenda.
Each successive generation has its own character and distinctiveness, and forms of knowledge and learning evolve to meet new needs and demands. Here, Dr. Jan Owen discusses the findings of the Foundation for Young Australian’s (FYA) most recent report the New Work Mindset, calling upon universities to offer new learning experiences to students in order to equip the next generation of young people to rethink the world, make change and create a better future. The report signals a paradigm shift is needed by educators concerned with preparing young people for the future of work if young Australians are able to survive and thrive in the new work order. By understanding the skills and capabilities that will be most portable and in demand in the new economy, universities can work to equip their students for the future of work more effectively.
The new work mindset
The New Work Mindset is the latest report in the New Work Order series from The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). The report show us that we need to shift our mindset towards
how we approach our working lives. This means shifting our focus from jobs to skills and understanding the skills that will be most portable and in demand in the new economy, young people can work to equip themselves with the right portfolio of skills and capabilities.
New job ‘clusters’ emerging in Australia
In the New Work Mindset we analysed more than 2.7 million job advertisements using a new methodology which looked at the skills requested for each job and how similar they are to skills requested for other jobs.
Our analysis reveals 7 new job clusters in the Australian economy where the required technical and enterprise skills are closely related and more portable than previously thought. The jobs clusters include The Generators, The Artisans, The Carers, The Informers, The Technologists, The Designers and The Coordinators.
Skills and capabilities that young people will need in the economy
Instead of training for a particular occupation or working area for life it is estimated that the average 15 year old will have 17 different jobs over 5 different careers. This uncertain and rapidly changing world of work young people need a portfolio of skills that allow them to be more portable and able to navigate more complex transitions and pathways.
The New Work Mindset tells us that skills and capabilities are more portable that we realise. In fact, when a person trains or works 1 job, they acquire skills that will help them get 13 other jobs.
Previous research by FYA, The New Basics, highlights that in addition to technical skills, young people will need transferable enterprise skills. The results showed that since 2013 the demand for digital skills has increased by more than 200%, critical thinking by more than 150%, and creativity by more than 60% and presentation skills by 25%.
In order to navigate the changing world of work, young people will also require career management skills – to understand the specific skills and capabilities required to enable them to move around a job cluster.
How should universities respond
The New Work Mindset continues our national conversation on how to reconceptualise the future of work and how we prepare our younger generations. We believe our existing systems including careers education, curricula, courses and career information need to focusing on building a portfolio of applicable skills and capabilities. Universities and other tertiary education providers will be required to transform the design of learning experiences. There is also an opportunity to support young people to build a relevant portfolio of skills and capabilities. Understanding the 7 job clusters will be key to navigating labour market shifts and transitions.
The skills and capabilities required for the new work order can be built into our education and training systems in a number of ways to support, engage and prepare young people.
This could include:
- Designing learning to reflect the way skills and capabilities are utilised in real world scenarios;
- Rethinking teaching methods to teach young people in ways they want to learn through experience, immersion and with peers;
- Partnering with employers and industry to expose students to opportunities where they can develop experience that will help them secure the enterprise skills required to succeed in the future of work.
As FYA’s report, the New Work Order highlights, the world of work is already in a massive transition to a more global, technology driven, flexible economy. To support our young people in this less predictable future, our education and training systems must reflect and engage with this change, helping young people to build a portfolio of skills and capabilities.
FYA sees a significant opportunity to sure up our nation’s future by investing in the next generation and backing them to create the kind of world they want to live in. Core to this will be generations of enterprising young people who are job creators, not only job seekers. We all need to embrace a new mindset towards how we approach our working lives and our existing systems need to shift. A collaborative approach from educators, policy makers, industry and students is essential to ensure young people not only survive but thrive in the new work order.