The workplace of the future will feature robot workers, intelligent assistants and automated tasks – a far cry from the fax machines, paper documents and rolodexes of decades past.
Everyone, from fresh graduates to seasoned professionals, will need to keep up with this pace of change. Your children, upon graduation, will have to prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist today.
How are governments supporting their citizens in this enormous shift? Here are four governments from around the world that are prioritising reskilling, education reform, and lifelong learning.
1. India focuses on new tech skills
Last week, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the FutureSkills platform, which will champion reskilling in the tech sector.
This move comes as new technologies such as AI, Blockchain and IoT transform industries all over the world. To prepare the workforce for a vastly different future workplace, new skills and jobs are needed.
NASSCOM, a nonprofit that supports the IT and Business Process Management industry in India, is the body behind this platform. It has also signed an agreement with the Ministry of Electronics and IT for strengthening re-skilling initiatives.
The nonprofit hopes to skill and up-skill “about two million technology professionals and skill another two million potential employees and students over the next few years”, NASSCOM President R Chandrashekhar was quoted as saying.
The platform will boost skills in eight areas: AI, virtual reality, robotic process automation, IoT, big data analytics, 3D printing, cloud computing and social and mobile.
2. Australia prioritises skills over degrees
The University of Adelaide in Australia is boosting skills in its students by working closely with industry to develop relevant training curriculums, so that they are more employable when they graduate.
This comes as the ancient role of universities as “custodians of knowledge” is evolving into one of skills development. “The world of the future is not so fixated on degrees. Employers actually want skills and confidence,” Vice President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Pascale Quester told GovInsider.
The revised curriculum will boost other more abstract skills as well: critical thinking, problem solving, agility and “intercultural competence”, for instance.
To support this initiative, the university is also exploring learner analytics – allowing lecturers to keep close tabs on how students are coping with their studies, and adapting curriculums accordingly in real-time.
3. Moving towards reskilling in Singapore
To boost lifelong learning, continuous education and reskilling, the Ministry of Education launched two new statutory boards in 2016: SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG).
The former works closely with educational institutions and training bodies to strengthen adult training infrastructure, while the latter seeks to promote development, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and employability.
Singaporeans aged 25 and above are provided with SkillsFuture credits that they can use to pay for training courses and programmes of their choice, across a variety of industries.
SSG will also deepen the skills of 20,000 training and adult education providers, its Chief Executive announced this month.
To boost tech skills in particular, the Infocomm Media Development Authority is working with SSG and WSG on a Tech Skills Accelerator to train 21,000 ICT professionals. TeSA is part of a $120 million Manpower Development Plan announced in 2016.
On a broader level, digital skills are going to be increasingly important across the board, Chief Executive Tan Kiat How told GovInsider. “In a bank, you may be front office, or a client-facing wealth manager. You need to have digital skill sets, basic programming knowledge,” he said.
Last year, Singapore’s education system was ranked top in Asia for preparing youths aged 15-24 with future skills.
4. A vision of lifelong learning in Denmark
In 2017, the Danish Ministry of Employment established the Disruption Council, made up of a broad group of representatives from public and private sectors and academia.
Almost four in ten job functions on the Danish labour market can in fact be automated today, based on existing technology. To address this, the council will meet periodically to discuss future skills, free trade, international partnerships, new business models, tomorrow’s technology and lifelong learning.
“The essence of the model is to allow companies and public institutions to respond quickly to changes in the economy, while ensuring that workers who lose their jobs are taken care of,” Troels Lund Poulsen, Danish Minister for Employment wrote in a guest post. “They are given access to training and new skills allowing them to return to the labor market.”
The Government has also entered into a tripartite agreement with social partners, which will focus on vocational training and education. “We are investing in future competencies with more flexible solutions, easier access to training and a strong life-long learning perspective,” Poulsen wrote.
Vocational work is fast facing disruption, as robots begin to replace humans – but encouragingly, industrial workers that Poulson visited “expressed a feeling of comfort and readiness to take in the robots”.
The world can take a leaf from the Danes’ book, and face the changing times with positivity. Today, the only constant is change.