How to prepare our kids for their future careers

Introducing our new Ready for Work Award in partnership with Junior Achievement Europe
The world in which our kids are growing up in today is very different to the one today’s employees grew up in. The days where getting an education, learning a specific subject or field, and continuing to use that static knowledge throughout the rest of our careers are long gone.

In the digital era, change is happening at such a fast pace that there’s an ever widening gap between what is being taught in education institutions and the skills and knowledge that are required for the working environment. There’s far less predictability and structure and, as a result a wider range of skills will be required to keep pace and remain relevant for the long-term.

As a father of three young daughters myself, I think about the skills that my children will need for the future world of work, and most importantly, for jobs that might not even exist yet. There are a few approaches I’ll be considering to help prepare them for their future careers:

  1. Encourage them to be digitally interested, not just digitally savvy – with our kids growing up as digital natives, it’s common to see them with various digital devices and attempting to ‘swipe’ the TV screens. This is a good opportunity for families to encourage their children to find out more about how their tablets and devices are actually working, rather than using them for play. It’s very important to have good grounding in the bases of technology but demonstrating an interest to continue learning will be necessary to keep pace.
  2. Digital skills are as important as Maths and English – finding out what schools are teaching now, and more importantly, what they’re planning to teach our kids next matters more than ever before. It’s becoming just as common to see the principles of coding, development and HTML web design being taught. With cyber threats at an all-time high, IT Security knowledge should also be at the top of the curriculum agenda.
  3. What they choose to study matters less – the pace of change in digital is so pronounced that it’s difficult for higher education and institutions to keep up. Some of the skills younger generations are being taught at university will become obsolete in a short amount of time making adaptability a key requirement. Just because they didn’t choose to read maths or computer science at university doesn’t mean they won’t be able to become data scientists.
  4. It’s more about fostering learnability – it’s important to develop our children’s ability to learn and their desire to upskill and self-learn. Learning how to learn on their own will help them to deal, handle and process information better. Most importantly, it will help them to become flexible and adaptable in the long-term.
  5. Building soft skills and learning how to use them is keysoft skills like problem-solving, decision-making, persuasion and engage with people will be the core skills of the future. Getting a basic grounding in communications and creative skills will put children in good stead for the future. This is particularly important because these are the skills that will be hard to codify into a machine and enable their work to be more worthwhile and meaningful.
  6. Continuous learning will be required – young people today need to continue learning throughout their lifetime, to remain relevant. Employers are always on the lookout for individuals with the aptitude and enthusiasm to continuously upskill. That’s why teaching our kids to be inquisitive about everything in their early years will be beneficial.

Although we can’t be 100% sure what roles future generations will be applying for in the future, preparing them as best as we can from a young age will be the first step. Encouraging them to be more digitally-interested, fostering curiosity and the desire for lifelong learning may help to put them on a path to a successful career.

Of course, that being said, don’t forget to keep screen time to a minimum, and ensure a healthy balance of digital games and physical activities in the great outdoors, which are just as important in shaping our children’s future.