The Future of Work – The Skills Needed

Nobody really understands what the future of work will look like, we don’t know if the employment opportunities which we are aiming for today, will still be around in the future. Alongside this, we are unsure about the way we are completing tasks right now; will they be completed in the same way 10+ years time?

I take this inspiration from an experiment which I read, this was about a newly acquired group of bus drivers who were being trained to, yes you guessed it, drive a bus! However, the methodology of the training was somewhat different to how you would imagine it. Rather than sitting behind a wheel and learning to drive, these trainee drivers were sat in front of a computer screen driving the bus around a variety of hazards which are on the learner drivers screen. Although we have seen this style of learning come around in many forms, through pilot and train driver simulated experiences, the idea of this form of training came into existence as the training company was developing the driver in tech skills as they would be navigating the bus around a busy city via a central driving office and through a screen, this was not just a training experience!

Could this be the way in which a bus is operated in the future? The machine calculating most of the thinking, and a human operative being present should they need to take control.

From this scenario, it is easy to see that the jobs which we take for granted that don’t currently require any ICT based training, will need this form of training. It makes you think about the skill sets which will be needed within the future of work, we only have to look at an Amazon example and how Amazon Go will rapidly change the face of a traditional supermarket; with no checkout points but employees still needed in the physical store, the skill set needed is going to have to be a lot more technical.

The changes in skills needed are going to happen a lot more quickly than we think; with Amazon Go already being tested, the retail sector and retail sector training needs to think about what skills are required. It makes me still nervous when I walked into a managers office within a busy recruitment centre in the UK last week, when I saw the number of people tallied up on the board who were looking for retail sector jobs and comparing this to the number of people who were looking for IT jobs, the numbers were shocking. When I asked him, do you train those people in the retail sector in technical and IT based training, he said no.

I understand that the people in those jobs are simply wanting employment now and to work in the sector instantly, however, we should be gearing up the skills-based sector with more on the job training and making employees aware of what future skills look like, or we are in danger of setting these people up to fail.

Awareness is a problem, far too many people do not understand that there will always be jobs in the sectors which they are working in, and robots will not take over everything as there will always be a role for an operative or human interaction, however, the skills needed to complete these jobs will be rapidly different.

Leave your comment