Students and the Careers of Tomorrow

Students and the Careers of Tomorrow

Surrounded, as we are, by such fast paced innovations in technology, communication and society, it isn’t hard to find yourself wondering just what type of future lies ahead for our students.  This is particularly relevant when it comes to their career.  For many of us, we have already experienced the disappearance of certain professions or their absorption into the automated sphere.  Teachers of a certain age will remember a very different set of options that were presented to them in school, where jobs such as social media marketing associate, genetic engineer, computer analyst and digital animator would have sounded like episodes from The Twilight Zone.  Even recently qualified teachers might quickly find themselves confronted with helping students prepare for prospective roles that they don’t completely recognise.

Obviously this evolution in the modern workplace and our educational methodologies has had some fantastic consequences, not the least of which is the huge uptake in STEM subjects, particularly amongst young girls, and the widening of possibilities for students overall.  There are more and more opportunities emerging for students at all levels, including those who don’t traditionally perform well in standardised testing environments.  There is a much greater variety of career types and areas of interest that can peak the excitement of a student who in previous decades might have floundered thanks to a lack of fulfilment. 

New Skills Needed

According to a 2016 report from the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school will have careers in the future that don’t exist today.  Whilst that number might seem surprisingly high, it reflects the fast pace of technological advancement that has already drastically reshaped the world’s job market.  No wonder we will be facing a vast array of new professions when studies such as the one from the McKinsey Global Institute claim that “by 2030 robots, artificial intelligence or automatons, will have displaced up to 800 million workers or one fifth of the global workforce”.  As well as this, even the jobs of today that will still exist will most likely be very different in scope and methodology; with all the medical advancements happening every day the way in which we provide healthcare or operate on patients is likely to require significantly different training than it does today.

Understandably teachers can’t help students follow a specific educational journey towards a career that doesn’t exist yet; but we can work on broadening their horizons, fostering their interest in alternative areas and staying up-do-date with the new types of competencies that will be required to succeed in certain sectors.  The most important things we can do to aid students in finding their purpose or vocation is to provide as many experiences and examples of potential futures so that they can discover what general direction is most appealing.  You could use platforms or apps to assess their strengths and attributes, incorporate work-based learning opportunities into the classroom or develop programmes for a diverse range of real-world employees to come and share the details of their job with your students.

Robot Whisperer or Off-world Governor?

Recently a group of well-respected researchers and strategists updated their 2010 report on the shape of jobs to come with a new selection of proposed careers that we might be vying for in the future.  Some of their predictions included roles such as:

  • Life Manager for the Techno-Bewildered.  Those who struggle with technology and get left behind in the new world order might find themselves placed under the mentorship of new age social workers. These life managers would supervise our every decision, guide us on how to navigate the day to day, and help ensure we use our finances or guaranteed basic incomes in a sustainable manner.
  • Cryogenics Concierge.  As more people opt for cryogenic preservation at—or close to—the end of their life, they will need specialist advice.  The cryo concierge will provide guidance on different types of cryo procedures, costs, financial planning, the family’s rights and responsibilities, what happens when you are regenerated, insurance, and how to manage the death.
  • Inter-AI Conflict Resolution Specialist.  AIs increasingly will need to collaborate.  Our personal intelligent assistant may need to interact with the AIs of our bank, our employers, and all the vendors who serve us.  Not all AIs will be born equal or have common goals, so disputes could arise. Human arbitrators may need to intervene to get the best outcome for humanity in these disputes.
  • Synthetic Sommelier.  The rise in the use of synthetic food products could drive the emergence of experts on all aspects of edible synthetics, lab-grown meat, and 3-D printed foodstuffs.  These professionals would be excellent at developing the perfect synth meal for any occasion.  They can tell you all the differences in smell, taste, and texture between the synth food and its real, authentic counterpart.

What do you think?  Do you think these might the jobs our students will train for in the future or are they a little too sci-fi?  Do they seem as far-fetched as ‘social media influencer’ might have seemed to teachers in the eighties and nineties?  What do you think will be the roles most in demand in ten or twenty years’ time?  How can we best prepare our students?  Join the conversation via our social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin or email us at info@tellalinstitute.com 

Sheryl Lee Rogers
Senior Manager – Digital Professional Learning & Development
Students and the Careers of Tomorrow
Sheryl is responsible for the design, development and deployment of digital resources and environments that are at the heart of TELLAL’s methodologies.
Students and the Careers of Tomorrow
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