From education to employment

21st Century Skills for 21st Century Needs: Erasmus+ International Conference

Cambridge-based social enterprise, Form the Future CIC are working with global thought leaders in education in a two-year programme funded by Erasmus+ to understand how best to prepare young people for the needs of the future.

Michaela Eschbach, Co-founder and Director at Form the Future, said:

“This programme fits perfectly with Form the Future’s mission to bring schools and businesses together to help students develop the necessary skills and experience needed to prepare them for their futures. We are excited to be playing a critical role in facilitating knowledge sharing across nations.”

The programme kicked off with a five-day conference that brought together over 50 education professionals and teachers from across the UK with their peers from Norway, Denmark and Romania. This unique event was organised by Form the Future and aimed to raise awareness of the importance of 21stCentury skills and guidance on how to integrate these skills into teaching and curriculum on an international scale.

Working collaboratively will enable the programme participants to pool expertise, data and resources, and to establish best practice based on real learnings. The conference provided extensive learning opportunities for the delegates across seminars, workshops and networking sessions on 25th–29th March.

Form the Future delivered a workshop in partnership with Junior Achievement Mid-Norway to inform the delegates about how schools can better engage employers to ensure their students develop the types of skills that businesses are actually looking for. The delegates had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of our volunteers from a range of businesses, including Arm, Cambridge University Press and Turners Soham Ltd.

Simon Humphrey, Senior Sustainability Manager at Arm, said: “The conference had a real energy and was buzzing with the spirit of collaboration between teachers, across national boundaries and with employers.  This was great to see, and be part of, because at Arm we recognise that effective careers awareness for young people can only happen where there is collaboration in a non-competitive environment across all parties. Form the Future play a critical role in career guidance in our region, brokering the relationships between young people, the schools and employers of all sizes, that allow for the effective sharing of careers information, insights and the incredible opportunities that exist across Cambridgeshire.”

Following this conference, programme participants and partner employers will be involved in the development of a toolkit to support the integration of 21st century skills teaching into the curriculum within each region. Encouraging schools, colleges and employers to work together will ensure that students feel prepared for each stage of their development, in education and beyond.

Frank Norbeck, CEO of Junior Achievement Mid-Norway, said:

“We really hope that delegates will benefit from taking learnings from this conference back to their four different countries. We also hope that this conference will stimulate powerful reflections amongst teachers around what skills are truly relevant and important for the future, especially given businesses’ increasing demand for soft skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. Our team at Junior Achievement Norway are really inspired to work with Form the Future because we share the same goals and ambitions. We both have a role to play in supporting schools to increase the relevance of their teaching so that young people understand what is expected of them in school and beyond. Businesses have a key role to play in ensuring that the school curriculum is relevant to the future world of work and inform this expectation.”

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