The landscape of work is changing at a fast pace. Job trends are shifting, forcing educators to re-think their offerings and encouraging employees to consider re-skilling. We are at a critical point that will define what future workforces will look like and how people will earn a living.
There’s a strong need to bridge the gap between higher education strategy and jobs of the future.
“There’s currently a commercial opportunity to create and adapt degrees to educate students for jobs of the future”
We need to react to the fast-changing digital influence that’s motivating people to shift career paths, and educators in the higher education realm need to cater for students wanting to move into these new areas. There’s currently a commercial opportunity to create and adapt degrees to educate students for jobs of the future. Instead of catering to large vertical markets, it’s being increasingly recognised that there’s a need for educational institutions to operate in smaller numbers, focusing on people with more specialist interests.
Jobs of tomorrow
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Jobs Report 2020 highlighted jobs relating to cloud computing, engineering, people and culture, and data and AI as the most in-demand destination jobs of tomorrow. These are the roles we should now be catering to as employers of the future will demand these skills of their workforce. The need for some existing roles will diminish and others will thrive. It will become a steady shift in focus.
Digital education offers different opportunities to the more traditional degree. Technology moves so fast that what you learn today could be out-of-date in a year’s time. Even how you will learn it will change as education technology moves forward at pace. How can we deliver the latest technology and practices through degree programmes? One solution could be to integrate digital-related modules into existing degrees or MBA programmes, that can be updated regularly to move with the fast-paced nature of technology.
Most industries have been impacted by technology in the last decade and many universities now teach programmes specific to industries, training people on software that is most prominent in that industry. Companies need to understand which technology is beneficial for them and then incorporate a more digital approach into their operations. They need to ascertain which specific software skills will be needed in five years’ times and constantly re-evaluate them.
Take accountancy; which technology will be a focal point next year and how will it change the way that the accountancy profession looks today? Traditional accounting is potentially on the verge of being replaced by computers, and accountants may be more likely to move into areas such as business intelligence and data visualisation, in the future. Relevant technological training must be incorporated into all profession-specific degrees to bridge technical skills gaps.
“There needs to be a strong focus on digital upskilling, especially for people who are coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, and educators need to incorporate a widening participation ethos into their agenda”
When companies hire, employers want candidates to be job-ready, equipped with all the knowledge and ability required – including the ability to use the latest software and technology. They want staff to be able to hit the ground running, without the need for excessive training. Students need to leave their degree course with the knowledge required so that once they’ve completed their course, they’re ready to start.
There needs to be a strong focus on digital upskilling, especially for people who are coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, and educators need to incorporate a widening participation ethos into their agenda. Institutions need to be delivering programmes to students who lack confidence or further education and help propel them into higher salary jobs in the digital arena.
Digital education of tomorrow
The future of education technology is all about personalisation and convenience. We need to be adapting the way we feed information to fit student’s individual learning styles, making sure that we can deliver learning in the most digestible manner so that students can absorb new information easily. Some people engage better through visual learning, others through aural learning and so on, therefore, it would make sense to adapt learning materials into different learning styles to help students succeed. We also aim to make our courses convenient and flexible so that people can fit study around their day-to-day life.
“The future of education technology is all about personalisation and convenience”
Higher education should be following the direction of successful companies that have been developed on ease and convenience, such as Deliveroo. We need the same in the higher education space. We need to provide convenient education so that it’s accessible to anyone who wants it, regardless of their situation. We also welcome partnering with the best education technology organisations out there in the industry. New ideas will help bring greater developments to our sector and we welcome that dialogue.
What’s now expected is a one-stop-shop. Class access from anywhere, from any device with just a login and password. Study on-the-go, to maximise all your spare time and get relevant content as soon as you want it, if you only have 10 mins – no problem, finish the class later.
“Only the institutions that are ahead of the game with a desire to put education technology at the heart of everything they do will survive”
It’s time for the education industry to bridge skill gaps and provide digital education with a flexible approach, to anyone who has the desire to upskill for a better tomorrow. Only the institutions that are ahead of the game with a desire to put education technology at the heart of everything they do will survive.
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