Our careers education is flawed: we need to think about skills not jobs

Students

The fourth industrial revolution isn’t just near – it’s here.

The world of work is already in a massive transition to a more global, technology-driven, flexible economy in which whole career progressions are being altered, new professions are coming into existence and traditional jobs are being swallowed by automation. The conditions are less predictable and the steps needed to succeed less obvious.

For young people in particular these changes will have – and to some extent already are having – a huge impact.

Since 2015, the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has released a series of reports called The New Work Order, exploring the economic forces (automation, globalisation, collaboration) shaping the future of work, changing education to employment pathways and the transferrable skills and capabilities required to survive in the changing world of employment.

The crux of the issue: nearly 60% of Australia students –71% of those in vocational education and training (VET) – are currently studying or training for occupations where the vast majority of jobs will be radically altered by automation. Many of the jobs they’re studying for could vanish in 10 to 15 years’ time.

Just as these disappear however, new and different ones will be created simultaneously. Consider the advent of the iPhone in 2007, for example, that created an entirely new industry of app development virtually overnight.

Despite all these coming changes, our mindset about work and the resulting advice we provide to young people remains largely the same.

We rely on stereotypes of jobs we know have always been there, and suggest training or educational pathways that will secure a job in these occupations. Yet in this new work order where young people are predicted to have 17 jobs over 5 careers, it’s clear that this traditional, linear career advice is no longer relevant or helpful.

To help young Australians navigate this more complex and uncertain world of work, understand where future jobs will exist and ensure they are equipped with the right skill set, FYA has turned to big data.

In our latest report, The New Work Mindset, we have analysed more than 2.7m job advertisements using a clustering algorithm that looked at the skills requested for each job and how similar they are to skills requested for other jobs. Over 600 occupations were grouped based on demand for similar skill sets, with over 4,600 diverse skills requested.

Our analysis shows that there are seven new job clusters in the Australian economy where the required technical and enterprise skills are closely related and more portable than previously thought. These jobs clusters include the Generators, the Artisans, the Carers, the Informers, the Technologists, the Designers and the Coordinators.

What we have found through this analysis is that when a young person trains or works at one job, they acquire skills and capabilities that will help them get 13 other jobs. In other words, skills are more portable than we once thought.

For example, the data reveals that the technical and enterprise skills commonly required for an environmental research scientist, part of the Informers jobs cluster, are portable into at least 13 other jobs such as fire officer, life science technician, and medical administrator where skills overlap. The common skills and capabilities between these jobs include data analysis, resource management, contract management and natural resource management.

Not all jobs switches are an overnight exercise – some will require additional formal or on-the-job training, such as the transition from a nurse to an anaesthetist. The job clusters provide the opportunity to identify skill gaps however, and find ways to fill them by taking short courses, further study, or seeking on-the-job training.

Our report also identified which of the job clusters offer greater long term security than others on average.

What these findings reinforce is that the way careers education is currently provided to young people is flawed.’); hiddenDoc.close(); })(); {“uid”:2,”hostPeerName”:”https://www.theguardian.com”,”initialGeometry”:”{\”windowCoords_t\”:42,\”windowCoords_r\”:1353,\”windowCoords_b\”:621,\”windowCoords_l\”:10,\”frameCoords_t\”:3056.046875,\”frameCoords_r\”:895,\”frameCoords_b\”:3306.046875,\”frameCoords_l\”:595,\”styleZIndex\”:\”auto\”,\”allowedExpansion_t\”:0,\”allowedExpansion_r\”:0,\”allowedExpansion_b\”:24,\”allowedExpansion_l\”:0,\”xInView\”:1,\”yInView\”:0.0241875}”,”permissions”:”{\”expandByOverlay\”:true,\”expandByPush\”:false,\”readCookie\”:false,\”writeCookie\”:false}”,”metadata”:”{\”shared\”:{\”sf_ver\”:\”1-0-5\”,\”ck_on\”:1,\”flash_ver\”:\”23.0.0\”}}”,”reportCreativeGeometry”:false,”isDifferentSourceWindow”:false}” scrolling=”no” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ width=”300″ height=”250″ data-is-safeframe=”true” style=”border: 0px; vertical-align: bottom;”>

Instead of focusing on a so-called “dream job” it may be more useful for young people to think about the “dream cluster” based on their skills and interests and where they are likely to have the most longevity. Developing a portfolio of applicable skills and capabilities based on the requirements of the job cluster will help ensure young people are able to easily move between roles.

This could include our government, educators, parents and young people coming together to look at what else we can do to provide tools and support, as well as information which will help them to deliver careers advice more effectively.

Throughout our New Work Order report series, FYA has consistently called for investment in a national enterprise skills and careers education strategy to help shape education in Australia.

By investing in the next generation to equip and inspire them for a radically different future of work, we will ensure they are able to not only survive, but thrive in this new work order – and ultimately ensure Australia’s future prosperity.

[Source:-The Guardian]