One of the things I noticed last year when the country went into lockdown was how quickly people and society learnt to adapt to new circumstances and catch up with technological advances. We accepted the new pandemic reality of staying at home to stay safe and save lives. On the whole we were willing to comply with the various different rules and regulations set.

As we come out of lockdown and armed with vaccination, we look to the future with some level of optimism. It has also brought to the forefront for a lot of people the skills likely needed in the future, to be more ready and resilient to tackle whatever challenges that lie ahead. Parents are particularly conscious of this for their children’s future and what the education system is doing to equip their children to succeed in life.

The World Economic Forum predicts that we will need to re-skill more than one billion people by 2030. So what skills will employers be looking for? How can children, and adults, become valuable resources for firms and society as a whole? There will be high demand for those qualified; workers not willing to adapt and not with the right skills are at risk of being left behind. The following future skills have been identified by the WEF:

  • Awareness of Data and Artificial Intelligence, for analysts, scientists, engineers and marketers
  • Blockchain, such as crypto-currency
  • Healthcare and nursing, in response to an ageing population
  • Emotional Intelligence, for action and decision-making; increasing one’s cultural quotient, interpersonal skills, one’s response to diversity and having cultural intelligence
  • Creativity, for management and leadership, complex problem-solving, multi-disciplinary thinking and cognitive flexibility
  • Resilience and stress-tolerance
  • Critical thinking
  • Commitment to active learning and learning strategies, embracing change and having a growth mindset, picking up new skills on the job via online learning platforms and from consultants
  • Leadership and social influence

Many, if not all, of these skills are already being demonstrated in the world of work and what employers are looking for. It is clear some of these skills can be learnt through subjects studied at school and university, with talent for these skills developed through extra-curricular activities. Teachers and tutors can engage their students in developing their resilience and growth mindset as part of the teacher-pupil dynamic. It is linking those skills with the relevant subjects that is key. Students and workers should be identifying their strengths now. This will enable them to be great assets for the future and adapt to the challenges of tomorrow.

Adam Muckle

BA(Hons) (Dunelm), LLM (London), Barrister, FTA

May 2021