There’s no secret about it, the world of work is undergoing profound change. The degree to which technology and artificial intelligence is accelerating the pace of change and the fundamental business models that exist is phenomenal.
For example, the OECD predicts that around 14% of jobs in the UK will be at high risk from automation, mostly in middle skill occupations. However, the technological advances aren’t the only drivers of this exponential change. Other drivers including the climate emergency, demographic trends, the growing importance of wellbeing, are all connected and present significant challenges and opportunities to all economies.
How can we respond?
Skills Development Scotland (SDS), our national Skills Body, is working with partners to chart out a vision called ‘Skills 2035: A Human Future’.
Themes include how to maximise the return on investment in Scotland’s skills system, how to build greater resilience and adaptability in businesses and people, and how best to promote and embed a culture of up-skilling and re-skilling. At the heart of Skills 2035 is an optimism that we can harness technology to benefit ourselves and our society by cultivating our innately human characteristics, commonly known as meta-skills.
Meta-skills aren’t new, but in this environment of ongoing change, they will allow us to excel; to collaborate and empathise with others and to create our own futures. They include problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and leadership. They are the skills we will all need to drive innovation, create adaptive resilience, encourage entrepreneurial behaviour and ensure our future success.
Meta-skills are most effectively learned and developed experientially in the workplace. Established work-based learning opportunities such as Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships will play an important role in embedding meta-skills within learning and skills provision.
Evidence shows that economies, such as in Germany and Switzerland, with high-levels of work-based learning are more resilient and have higher levels of productivity. Investment in work-based learning opportunities helps with the recruitment and retention of the right mix of skills, bringing benefits to both employers and their employees, and ultimately to the economy.
Employers with an interest in benefiting from work-based learning programmes, which are all designed by and for employers and with the needs of industry in mind, can visit apprenticeships.scot/for-employers for information.
Preparing for the future
Although we are beginning to understand the scale of the change happening around us, we cannot accurately predict the future. So, for people and businesses to thrive in this undefined data and digital driven future world of work, the key is to prepare for an increasingly unpredictable future.
People must be agile in their approach to work, be prepared for change; and businesses must recognise the importance of re-skilling or up-skilling within their workforce and embrace work-based learning opportunities.
For more information on the ‘Skills 2035: A Human Future’ vision, please visit www.sds.co.uk/a-human-future