From education to employment

Can teaching students life-long skills prepare them for the digitalised world beyond the classroom?

Nicola Pearce

As the conversation about the fourth industrial revolution increases and concerns over technology taking over jobs continue, teaching strategies must evolve to prepare children for an increasingly digital world beyond the classroom. This is where life-long skills are becoming vital for students; now is the time to consider the skills that are essential for students to adapt and thrive in ever-evolving work environments. The viewpoint goes on to discuss how teaching life-long skills could be the answer to future-proofing children’s education.

Technological developments continue to evolve and advance the futureproofing of children’s education. With this, however, comes uncertainty regarding potential risks, such as the suggested threat of AI taking over some jobs. This risk has led to a growing need to learn how to adapt to the growing digital era and understand the surrounding complexities.

With the rapid development and evolution of workplaces and organisational structures, it is essential to focus on developing life-long skills to prepare children for an increasingly digital world beyond the classroom. Many educational institutions focus greatly on building a curriculum that is industry-specific and does not necessarily provide the knowledge and skills needed for the future. As career landscapes constantly develop and change, it forces students to reskill and upskill in order to work and develop in tandem. The conversation surrounding the fourth industrial revolution is increasing, highlighting the need for teaching strategies to develop in order to prepare children for the future. By teaching students life-long skills, allows students to become adaptable and enables them to thrive in environments beyond school, settings that require a body of values, knowledge and capabilities – are essential in adapting to complex global workplaces.

It goes without saying that teachers are already incorporating digital skills into their daily curriculum, and such skills must be emphasised. In recent times, students have adapted to new ways of working, becoming accustomed to remote and digital learning. However, some students have become less familiar with remote working. As a result, it is necessary to reintroduce such skills and behaviours to give students the best chances of achieving academic success.

Future-proofing children’s education by teaching them life-long skills.

Future-proofing students are crucial, and education is a key component to achieving this – especially amongst universities where students are one step closer to entering their working life. Yet to prepare for the breadth of jobs students will eventually choose from, it is essential to acquire skills that coincide with new technologies at an early age, rather than avoid them overall. To put things into perspective, the World Economic Forum states that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. Whilst many people fear that the next industrial revolution will bring career uncertainty and new demands, there are ways in which students can develop the skills needed to become resilient in future complex landscapes.

The Understanding Current and Future Skills Needs Policy Report states that in the future the demand for manual, physical and cognitive skills will decline. Importance will be placed on technological, social, and emotional skills – meaning that communication, digital, data, and people talents will become part of the necessary skillset needed for jobs, and many will require reskilling.

How students’ skills and behaviours have been affected by COVID-19

Adapting to new ways of communicating is nothing new, especially in the world of work. In recent times, students have had to adapt to a way of learning that has become remote and distanced from the usual face-to-face interaction. The consequence of this is that for many students, the increase of remote interaction has led to a decrease in socialisation and students of all ages have faced negative impacts during this time of uncertainty – self-confidence, making friends, social and emotional learning and building independence are just a few of the life-long skills affected by the pandemic. As a result, it is necessary to reintroduce such skills and behaviours, alongside learning, to ensure that students have the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in their exams and future careers.

Establishing a successful framework by implementing technology in classrooms

Technology is a key part of our lives and will continue to evolve and influence our future roles in jobs and outside of work. It is necessary to adopt an ongoing transformation on how the curriculum taught in schools can be re-imagined with the new digital age in mind. In a rapidly changing industry, introducing students with new advancements at a young age will enable them to get familiarised with the devices they will most likely use in their future careers. For example, the implementation of devices such as interactive displays can be a great way to encourage future-proofing. Such technology creates lessons that are more dynamic and interactive. Not only does this help students develop essential skills for the future, but it also provides educators with a versatile range of resources which increases the ability to deliver effective lessons.

As the focus shifts from education to skills, schools and educational institutions must focus further on implementing technology within classrooms. By encouraging students to engage in a digitally driven classroom and embrace this approach to teaching, also enables the embedment of technological skills, for use in adult life.

Ultimately, it is becoming clear that the future of education along with ever-evolving technologies can be daunting and intimidating to teachers and students. There is an increasing pressure on teachers to prepare students for highly complex landscapes, but also an added pressure on students who need to work on developing the skills essential to thrive in the new industrial revolution.

By Nicola Pearce, Head of Education at BenQ

FE News on the go

Welcome to FE News on the go, the podcast that delivers exclusive articles from the world of further education straight to your ears.

We are experimenting with Artificial Intelligence to make our exclusive articles even more accessible while also automating the process for our team of project managers.

In each episode, our thought leaders and sector influencers will delve into the most pressing issues facing the FE.

Related Articles