Andy Durman is Managing Director of the Labour Market Insight specialists, Emsi UK.

The interesting thing about the recent Emsi conference is that we came in with a big question; how do we address the workforce of the future and how do we think about it now? Particularly with so much uncertainty about what that looks like.

The role of automation, the impact that Brexit and globalisation might have, big profound challenges that I know a lot of people are trying to address.

I think what heartened me, through the plenary sessions, is we've really got a handle on actually understanding what's happening here and now in the labour market. Particularly, the role that labour market data can play in unpicking that, is laying some strong foundations that will take us forward.

Perhaps we don't have to agonise over what the labour market looks like in 40 or 50 years, which is nigh impossible to understand, but think about the next few years. 

Maturity in the education skills system

I think a big theme that's come through here is a maturity in the education skills system. That really is about continuing to understand those changes as they kick in, and the role that continuous education will play in helping regions and localities thrive, individuals thrive, and ultimately our economies work for us.

We can really harness some of the great productivity challenges that we're hearing through embracing automation, through bringing the human skills, as we've heard a lot about, to the fore.

Really getting to grips through education, as we think of it now and as it's changing. We heard about micro credentialing, and the role of digital badges, to really start to create a new narrative, a new currency.

That helps us, as individuals, understand our skills and how we need to adapt those employers to better articulate what they're seeking, and educators as that linking fact, to make sure that they're well prepared to deliver that.

A global challenge

The challenge here of course is not just a UK specific thing, this is a global challenge.

By bringing the world closer together on these topics I think we can take the best of what's working and put it into the cultural mix of how different economies, and individuals, and cultures work, to to really solve those problems.

We don't need to be too alarmed, as long as we get good information and knowledge, we embed that into the cultures of the organisations that are here to help individuals and businesses connect together, and find our way through to an ever changing, but successful environment.

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Andy Durman is Managing Director of the Labour Market Insight specialists, Emsi UK.

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