Innovation is transforming life as we know it

Adults who were once skilled operating a VHS player in the 70s, are now having to reskill in many different areas, including that of such as Netflix and Apple TV+).

Till counter operator jobs are at significant risk with new self-service counters, which fortunately require some human intervention on occasion. However, with technology such as Amazon Go and Amazon Locker, till workers are set to be a distant memory in the coming years.

Robotics in warehouses will also mean the services of warehouse operatives will no longer be required. Even drone delivery could put postmen and delivery couriers out of work. Just when you thought only blue-collar workers were at risk, now even white-collar workers are too, with legal professions being disrupted by technology.

The World Economic Forum 2018 Job Report states:

“Changes to jobs and skills are set to have large scale effects on companies, government and individuals across the global community”

We can’t stop disruption, but we can adopt new skills to adapt

The fourth industrial revolution is only starting to gain momentum and the aging workforce needs to adapt promptly.

The Government needs to invest in more further education colleges and institutions that can deliver compulsory programs to help upskill aging adults with the skills crucial for the new era. Recently, the Government has developed the National Retraining Scheme (backed by £100 million investment), to support such adults whose job may be at risk of disruption because of new technologies, like machine learning and robotics.

Moreover, essential digital training needs to be executed nationwide. Another initiative backed by the Government is the Essential Digital Skills contract, supported by the Education and Training Foundation, to enable adults aged 19+ with no or low digital skills to undertake ‘essential digital skills’ qualifications, free of charge, from 2020.

Global Vocational Skills visited Northampton College in September to see how technology was being integrated into learning, as part of the opening of a new Advanced construction Centre.

State-of-the-art facilities complete with technology equipment and national digital initiatives are crucial to bridging the skills gap needed in the coming future. This may well save a vast number of jobs and minimise those lost to the older generation, as a result of the inevitable rise of the machines.

Adrian Daniels, BD Manager, Global Vocational Skills Ltd

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