Skills that computers will never master – and great teachers to teach them
Vikas Pota, Chief Executive, Varkey Foundation
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will mean that, over the next four years, a third of the skills the economy needs will change due to automation. It is therefore impossible to predict which “hard skills” children in today’s classrooms will need for jobs they will enter in 15 years’ time. Who could have conceived two decades ago that there would be a whole new industry in search engine optimization?
The jobs that even artificial intelligence can’t replace will be those that require strong human character traits. Workers will need empathy – the ability to persuade and to work well with others. They will need a positive attitude – the ability to relearn, go back to college, and adapt to new situations as old skills become obsolete. Thriving in this uncertain world, where careers could change every few years, will also require resilience.
These “soft” skills are hard to teach – and, as much as mathematics or science, will demand great teachers.
Ditch the rote learning and focus on transferable skills
Biola Alabi, Founder, Grooming for Greatness
Biola Alabi Grooming for Greatness创办者
The world of work is changing, and if we are to keep up, we must focus on learning new skills.
One of the most important skills for the workforce of the future will be critical thinking. Given how much “noise” there is in this digital age, individuals must be able to sieve through huge volumes of data to establish which information is most relevant – and to make quick decisions based on this.
Adaptability will be another crucial skill. The challenges organizations face are more complex than in the past, so specializations will no longer be enough to solve key problems. We will instead need to develop skills that allow us to navigate and find comfort in ambiguity. A person’s capacity to apply concepts, ideas and problem-solving techniques across different sectors will determine whether or not they’ll thrive in the future workplace.
If all this is to happen, the way we learn must also change. Today’s classrooms need to focus more on teaching leadership, flexibility and teamwork instead of times tables.
An entrepreneurial spirit – and the skills to know how to apply it
Veronica Colondam, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, YCAB Foundation
Veronica Colondam，YCAB 基金会的创办者及首席执行官
I’ve spent years working with some of Indonesia’s poorest. They are among the most entrepreneurial people you could meet – everyone is selling something. Of course, this is driven more by necessity than choice – it’s a survival skill.
But I also think this entrepreneurial spirit could be the key to pulling people out of poverty. I’ve seen this first-hand: when these people are given access to capital, and are taught the skills needed to grow their business (such as financial literacy), their incomes often double or even triple. It’s these skills that will be the defining ones of the future, I believe.
It is not enough to be innovative, or collaborative, it’s also about knowing when to apply each of them, and how they can be used in a business context.
If we can ensure people like those I have worked with in Indonesia are equipped with these skills, we will help create a generation of innovators who are not only surviving, but are actually contributing to improving the state of the world. The future belongs to these innovative and creative people.