As a lecturer, you are faced with the significant challenges that come with preparing students for the ‘real world’. However, when the world is experiencing such dramatic change, what use is it to teach your students about career approaches and practices that won’t exist in the future?
Globalisation, developments in technology and changes in economic demand are causing change on an immense scale - the way that people work, and the jobs that they do are already remarkably different from the norms of previous generations.
What Does the Future Look Like?
In knowing how to implement future proof teaching practices that genuinely support students, you will need to understand how the job market is changing, and what it might look like in the future. This means considering what transformations and shifts it will undergo, the careers that will rise or fall, and the changes in general workplace practices and workflows that will significantly impact the way we work.
A good way to view the most likely position of the future workforce is to consider what will influence change. Todays’ focus on technological developments, a vastly increased focus on innovation, and higher demand for flexibility and ethical business conduct indicates a lot about the job market that your students might find themselves in.
A Future Proof Career Choice
The first point to consider is the appearance, and disappearance, of a number of careers. Automation is increasingly impacting the workforce, and will likely continue on an exponential trend. Even if you take automation out of the equation, increased reliance on tech and changing consumer demands mean that while some jobs might be important today, they may not matter in the future.
High school and university graduates will often experience issues when entering the workforce. Although many teachers will emphasise the importance of career choice, many often fail to focus on the idea of it being future proof, rather than profitable or interesting. Regardless of the pay or joy you get from a job, you won’t be able to benefit from it if demand for it doesn’t exist (although there are approaches to making any career choice work, as covered in the next section of this article).
When you focus on this aspect of job market change, there is a crucial approach that you can consider in helping your students to see success. It might seem like a fairly obvious thing to do - you should provide your students with an understanding of where the job market is heading, and why. Giving students an understanding of this will ensure they are conscious of whether or not particular careers will be viable.
The Importance of a Diversified Skill Set
While it is important to teach students to consider whether their career choice is future proof, you don’t want them to compromise on their career choice. This is where the significance of developing a diversified skill set comes into play. Doing this will allow your students to make any career choice, in one form or another.
A diversified skill set is important because even if a student might take future viability into consideration when choosing a career, they can never be sure that unforeseen changes won’t render them unsuccessful. This means that learning skills that are cross-functional, and work in various situations across numerous industries is key. It will allow students (and yourself) to fit in across a range of areas - and even if your particular role is no longer required, you will be able to apply your skills in a different way.
Consider the example of developing skills in an area within something like digital marketing. Doing so would mean that you are useful within a digital marketing setting, but can also market any company from an internal position. It is even useful in analysing marketing approaches of other businesses, or in marketing yourself and approaching your own online presence. This approach is even beneficial in that learning about it can be done flexibly and effectively with something like this Courses diploma.
Preparing for Workflows of the Future
The influencing factors of change mean that the workplace of the future will put significant emphasis on technological innovation. This is not only implying increased demand for digitally oriented jobs, but also increased reliance on tech when it comes to workflows, productivity and flexibility within any industry.
Even platforms that were previously not associated with the workplace are, in many ways, further integrating within the professional environment. Social media platforms are continuing to demonstrate importance, whether or not within a professional context. If your students are focusing on their networking capabilities or are looking at career options, there are numerous reasons as to why they should learn more about social media.
Other aspects of the traditional workplace are also changing dramatically - working from home, communicating over video platforms, and utilising AI in improving productivity are all becoming commonplace within many workplaces.
Above All Else, Encourage the Right Attitude
Whilst the changes we are currently seeing in the workforce are in many ways unprecedented, students have historically experienced a struggle regarding entering the workforce in their chosen career.
Ultimately, you can prepare your students for the jobs of the future by focusing on soft skills, teaching students about the nature of change within the workforce, ensuring that they diversify their skill sets, and considering the impact of technology within any future working situation.
Even if these expectations seem too difficult to achieve, promoting entrepreneurial attitudes in teaching methods and encouraging students to innovate and be creative will enable them to develop methods of working that are flexible and benefit them regardless of their career choice.
About the author
Rebecca is the Content Manager at Extras, a freelance writer, and an avid reader of self-help books with a focus on finance. A big believer in taking action, she wastes no time tackling obstacles that lie ahead. When it comes to her endeavors in business and entrepreneurship, she'd rather be stuck with oh well than what if.