Only Tech Skills Aren’t Enough - Students Must Possess These Core Skills For The Future Of Work

Tech Skills Aren’t Enough To Excel - Students Must Possess These Core Skills For The Future Of Work

Career readiness for future calls for some actions to develop a set of skills.

And so we see educators and parents doing all in their power to make sure that kids today are prepared for tomorrow’s challenges. However, how exactly do we define these set of skills is one thing that leaves us in a state of conundrum. Students today are already exposed to the latest technology and on top of that a lot of parents are making sure that their kids are familiar with multiple languages not just to speak with humans but with the machines as well, so we see students learning code.

But sadly, it seems nothing is enough! After a short period, we are introduced to something even better and so again the (vicious) circle starts! A few days before, I came across this amazing piece of information that speaks of the must have skills to prepare students for the future. But, what is different is that it talks of skills that will be required in every profession and is not just limited to technology. The skills mentioned are essential for one and all to survive in the coming times.

Dr. Tony Wanger brings forward they key skills children must learn at school in order to face the work challenges of tomorrow. The following points talks of the skills and bring forward the opinion of the experts from the industry on the importance of the respective skill.   

1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

The idea that a company’s senior leaders have all the answers and can solve problems by themselves has gone completely by the wayside…The person who’s close to the work has to have strong analytic skills. You have to be rigorous: test your assumptions, don’t take things at face value, don’t go in with preconceived ideas that you’re trying to prove.” —Ellen Kumata, consultant to Fortune 200 companies

Schools need to reach children to ask questions and think for themselves. As we shift to an elearning environment it becomes even more essential for students to develop the skills of critical thinking and problem solving. When we speak of these two skills, we can’t teach students to think critically but we have to make sure that they are comfortable enough to come out, share their perspectives and look beyond the norms. And once students are being able to do so, it is essential that they are being directed to solve their problems and find out the solutions under their educator’s guidance.

Also read: Critical Thinking Activities Recommended For Teachers To Implement In The Classroom.      

2. Collaboration across Networks And Leading By Influence

The biggest problem we have in the company as a whole is finding people capable of exerting leadership across the board…Our mantra is that you lead by influence, rather than authority.” —Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Cisco

Collaboration is one important skill that students must have. For every web tool that is being used in education, collaboration is one feature that is widely available and is demanded.  Be it now or the future, collaboration is one skill that will always be demanded for the simple reason that it is the foundation to many other skills. Therefore, it is important to teach children to cooperate rather than use top-down authority.

3. Agility and Adaptability

I’ve been here four years, and we’ve done fundamental reorganization every year because of changes in the business…I can guarantee the job I hire someone to do will change or may not exist in the future, so this is why adaptability and learning skills are more important than technical skills.” —Clay Parker, President of Chemical Management Division of BOC Edwards

Children need to be constantly re-learning to keep up with a fast moving environment; and this has to be taught to them since beginning as to make sure that when they step into their profession they are prepared and willingly adapt and learn to improvise consistently. And not just for the profession, shouldn’t we all be living with a belief in Life Long Learning and Embracement of Changes?   

4. Initiative and Entrepreneurship

For our production and crafts staff, the hourly workers, we need self-directed people…who can find creative solutions to some very tough, challenging problems.” —Mark Maddox, Human Resources Manager at Unilever Foods North America

Inspiration works wonders! Children have to be inspired to become doers and innovators. For them to be the next set of innovators, it is important for us to set examples and introduce them to real life problems. They must be keen to solve the issues at hand and so this change in the attitude can help in the long way!

5. Effective Oral and Written Communication

The biggest skill people are missing is the ability to communicate: both written and oral presentations. It’s a huge problem for us.” —Annmarie Neal, Vice President for Talent Management at Cisco Systems

Communication clearly is the key in knowledge economy. A person who is being able to communicate well is appreciated in every industry. It is essential for students to learn how they have to communicate their ideas and opinion in proper way; be it written or oral.

6. Accessing and Analyzing Information

There is so much information available that it is almost too much, and if people aren’t prepared to process the information effectively, it almost freezes them in their steps.” —Mike Summers, Vice President for Global Talent Management at Dell

Children need to distinguish between the fake and the factual and this indeed is an important concern in the digital times. With ample of information just a click away, it has become crucial that children understand the importance of authenticity as well as reliability of the resources they pick. 

7. Curiosity and Imagination

Our old idea is that work is defined by employers and that employees have to do whatever the employer wants…but actually, you would like him to come up with an interpretation that you like—he’s adding something personal—a creative element.” —Michael Jung, Senior Consultant at McKinsey and Company

Curiosity is a natural trait of kids but as they grow they lose it somewhere. It is important that children raise questions and come out with solutions to problems faced. Children should be inquisitive and creativity should be encouraged as to motivate them, boost their confidence and to show that their elders whom they look up to believe in them! 

It seems that future employees will need to be extremely adaptable and be able to learn new skills quickly. The world is changing on a fast pace and the future workplace will be fast moving and present difficult new challenges. What we need to do is to prepare our kids today with core skills so that they can take upon any challenges of tomorrow. Making technologically sound individuals alone will not help the youth to stay abreast with the world of tomorrow, it would require so much more and helping them develop these core skills is a step in the positive direction.

What is your take on this?

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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