How to gain 21st century skills in a 20th century workforce?<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">4</span> min read</span>

Dhawal Nayak
Dhawal Nayak

Feeling 👏

Unfortunately, Innovation and Education often do not go hand-in-hand. I believe society is still operating under a 20th-century paradigm. Time is ticking and yet we have not formulated a rescue plan.

Generation Z could potentially face the same level of anxiety and anger towards their parents — similar to, Generation Y, who are facing a bleak future. An in-depth investigation by The Guardian concluded that Gen Z seems to harbor anxiety about things like; distrust in government, thinking “the system is rigged”, and their opinion of the job market is even worse — 79 percent worry about getting a job, while 72 percent worry about debt.

An article written in March 2017 from the Sydney Morning Herald states that underemployment is up in Australia and around the world. It’s not because of automation, or because Skynet has started to gain artificial consciousness and seeks to exterminate the human race in order to fulfil the mandates of its original coding — no. Rather, employers are creating more jobs with part-time hours.

Alongside this disruption, there is a debate raging between those who believe we are heading towards unprecedented technological unemployment, and those who believe job prospects for people, with the right mix of talent, have never been better.

Studies published by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation shows that the U.S. labour market is not experiencing high levels of job churn (defined as ‘new occupations being created while older occupations are destroyed’). In fact, it’s the exact opposite; levels of occupational churn in the United States are now at historic lows.

We can thrive in today’s world — we can educate and prepare the next generation today by teaching them the skills required to work alongside new technology, that is disrupting the job market.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

— Gandhi

Elon Musk is building crazy rockets, while simultaneously working on amazing renewable energy projects. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is working on Apple’s next big thing — augmented reality glasses. Innovation is happening all around us, but the education system has been slow to adapt. Young Australians aren’t getting the opportunity to experience the work of tomorrow. The traditional pathway of vocational training and university studies will provide them with the hard skills — which are easily defined and measurable. Yet the soft skills like entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence, decision-making, and problem-solving are hard to find in a curriculum.

“With hard skills, you can manage your boss; and with soft skills, you can lead your boss.”

— Professor M.S. Rao, leadership specialist

More than 85 percent of the executives and recruiters surveyed in the Gallup-Lumina Foundation report thought that businesses and universities should work more closely together to develop career paths for students. However, fewer than 22 percent of these businesses had an internship or student advancement program in place.

Teaching 21st-century skills today will impact the future of work. We must work to preserve these opportunities for future generations, which is why we are leading an initiative to do just that.

For more information, visit thegrandstudentsurvey.com

Opinion Piece Written By Dhawal Nayak, The Grand Student Survey Team.