“Enterprise Skills” are the talk of the town, at ASU-GSV this week in the US and in Australia at the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). Analysing 4.2 million job ads from 2012–2015, FYA found these Enterprise Skills are on the rise including digital literacy (+212%), critical thinking (+58%), creativity (+65%) and presentation skills (+25%). Burning Glass in the US found that employers regard these baseline skills as critical in the workplace yet exceedingly hard to find. While tertiary education systems have received plenty of attention in their role to equip young people for success in the new work order, the FYA underscores the importance of a national skills strategy that looks at the whole ecosystem right from primary school. Embedding entrepreneurship education in curricula can cultivate these much-needed enterprise skills and prepare students for the new economy — says Australia’s Office of the Chief Scientist — especially if championed in early K-12.
Teacher readiness to ensure student success is equally, if not more important especially in preparing students for the new work order. The National Center for Education and the Economy looks at four high-performing education systems to gain best practice and the consensus is clear — for schools to improve, teacher professional learning must be a priority.
Finally, to round up this skills-centric edition we look towards the Institute for the Future for the top ten skills every person should have to be well-equipped for the 2020 workforce.
These are the “enterprise skills” young people need for the New Work Order
A new report by the Foundation for Young Australians reveals that employers are placing a premium on enterprise skills at a time of significant change in the workforce. An analysis of 4.2 million job ads from 2012–2015 found there is rising demand for enterprise skills such as digital literacy (increased by 212%), critical thinking (increased by 158%), creativity (increased by 65%) and presentation skills (increased by 25%). The jobs of the future will require enterprise skills 70% more than the jobs of the past. The report highlights the need for Australia to invest in a national enterprise skills strategy to ensure young people are well-equipped to navigate the increasingly complex future of work. It underscores the importance of cultivating these skills early in primary school, rethinking teaching methods to focus more on inquiry approaches and providing live labour market data to inform students on future jobs and skills in demand.
Boosting entrepreneurship as a way to help students navigate the uncertain future of work
To be a more innovative country, Australia needs to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset at every level of education — starting in schools, continuing in higher study and enduring throughout working lives. According to the Office of the Chief Scientist, universities need to encourage students to explore entrepreneurship as an alternative to traditional career paths — especially in an uncertain future economy. Learning from countries with successful entrepreneurial cultures, this report explores best practice for entrepreneurship education — from harnessing entrepreneurs as role models to providing hands-on learning through incubators and accelerators. While this report focuses on the role of universities, it highlights the importance of K-12 entrepreneurship education in developing non-cognitive skills such as creativity and proactivity, and in stimulating students’ interest in entrepreneurship later in the years.
Employers emphasise soft skills in job ads precisely because they are hard to find
Employers say soft skills are both crucial and hard to find — but what do these skills actually mean? In an analysis of millions of job ads in the US, recruitment analytics company Burning Glass found that aside from the usual soft skills such as communication and being detail-oriented, employers are also demanding competencies such as writing and knowledge of software packages. The study also found that a number of baseline skills in the job postings are emphasised out of proportion to what their actual importance should be — suggesting that employers face real skill gaps in finding the baseline skills they need. CEO Matthew Sigelman sums it up well: “If employers were confident that everyone had learned these baseline skills in high school, they wouldn’t be focusing on them so much in job ads. Skills that are overemphasised in ads are usually undersupplied in the workforce.”
Lessons from top education systems: For student learning to improve, teacher professional learning must be a priority
What is at the core of high performing professional learning systems? A recent study analyses teacher professional learning in four high-performing education systems — Shanghai, British Columbia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. While these systems are quite different, the key to all of them is that collaborative professional learning is built into the daily lives of teachers and school leaders. This is reinforced by policies that: 1) Free up time in the daily lives of teachers for collaborative professional learning, 2) Create leadership roles for expert teachers who both develop other teachers and lead school improvement teams, 3) Reward the development of teacher expertise, and 4) Enable teachers to share responsibility for their own professional learning and that of their peers. This report serves as a rich resource for the education community in looking towards best practice for establishing successful education systems in other countries.
The 2020 world calls for job seekers to have these 10 work skills
Global connectivity, smart machines and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and the skills we will need to be productive contributors in the future. This 2011 report makes predictions on the top 10 work skills required to successfully navigate the future workplace in 2020 — which includes sense-making, social intelligence, cross cultural competency and computational thinking. The report explores implications for various stakeholders: Individuals will need to demonstrate foresight and continually reassess the skills they need, educational institutions will need to give more prominence to soft skills in training students, businesses will need to adapt workforce development to ensure alignment with future skill requirements, and finally governments will need to take a leadership role and make education a national priority.