What does my future hold, what’s in store for my children, grown now, and the native digital generation coming behind them, Generation Z? My kids were born in the early nineties, when my University lecturing job furnished me with a newish desk top computer, and access to the wonders of the Internet, and email. Back then, my kids were more interested in crawling under my two desks, arranged by the window, out of which I liked to gaze, as I dreamt of a future.
As a lecturer on a post graduate diploma in careers guidance, it was evident by mid decade that the future was arriving faster than anyone could have imagined, change churn happened quicker every year, and you’d better adapt or die. Experts like Charles Handy, wrote about the future of work, and described the jobs that might exist for the workforce in the 2020s, but the public had no idea, and no-one took any notice anyway. Certainly not Governments, Local Authorities, schools, colleges or careers services, which by then had been quasi privatised, a move that ruined a perfectly good Local Authority Service which just required investment. But of course the Tories believed that the Market would provide. It didn’t. They also wanted to weaken the power of local councils, which has continued ever since, and given rise to the Third Sector.
At the turn of the Millennium, we began to get a handle on what was coming and in the early years of the century, writers started to talk of jobs which hadn’t been invented yet, in industries which were just a small cloud in a blue sky of thinking and imagination made real. Then it all happened, from email and WWW via Google Power, Facebook Hugs, Blogger moans, and WordPress style, to Twitter, Instagram, and all the wondrous shiny things in the app store today.
But still no-one told the careers service, schools, young people, or parents about the changing job market. Colleges and Universities got it a bit quicker, but then they would. Yes, the careers services in England and Wales, got nice web sites, but deserted face to face work, in favour of leaner, smarter, yet poorer organisations, with less reach, less clout, and less ability to change their culture quickly, and react to what was coming over the horizon.
A recent report* published in Wales stated that:
‘Parents and teachers are not appropriately informed to support children with their decision‐making around career and skills development.’
‘This observation has been made in the face of rapid change in ICT but may reflect an issue across all sectors. A significant number of parents still consider digital skills as irrelevant to career prospects. Action needs to be taken in schools (QinetiQ, a UK leader in digital technologies, would argue from Year 9) by careers advisers in schools, the wider careers service and businesses to change attitudes.’
‘Perhaps the most important consideration for schools is the upskilling of teachers to use digital competencies in class across the whole curriculum. Research indicates that computing skills are in high demand across all sectors and there is likely to be a shortfall in the workplace for at least the next ten years. The introduction of coding to pupils at an early age may prove to be the key to their future success and the facility of schools to teach this as a core skill in an exciting way is going to be essential.’
‘… coding is the literacy of the 21st century. With so many elements of our daily lives — every website, smartphone app and even microwave — powered by code, computing students are future architects of the digital age.’
Dr Andrew Daniel, Headmaster of Monmouth School
‘Driving student demand, industry engagement and careers and science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STE‐A‐M) are all important to drive student aspirations.’ LSkIP.
Aspiration and imagination are key.
STE-A-M is the engine of the next industrial revolution.
Quote attributed to Mark Twain:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.