Australians say they’re not convinced the education system prepares us for the workforce. So what are the jobs of the future?

Australia/June 22, 2021/ By Selina Ross/Source: https://www.abc.net.au

Ada Lacey was travelling the world representing Australia in luge and synchronised ice skating in 2019.

When the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to that and she failed to qualify for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Ms Lacey decided to consider other career options.

“I thought I would try something new, so I looked online and found a course at TAFE Queensland,” she said.

“Part of the wet trades course is that you get to try four different types of trades.

“And I went through them all and I really stuck with tiling, that was kind of my thing. I really liked it, found it really satisfying.”

Ada Lacey, a young woman, wears ice skates and a performance leotard, while holding the Australian flag up behind her shoulders.
Ms Lacey said after her Olympics aspirations failed, she looked at promising jobs in the growing construction industry.(Supplied)

Ms Lacey felt there were promising job prospects in the growing construction industry.

In fact, it’s one of the top industries identified on the Australian government’s JobOutlook website as having seen strong growth in recent years and likely to continue to have demand for workers.

Ms Lacey has started an apprenticeship and is confident her TAFE course has set her up for the future.

“I think more people should know about this line of work.”

So how well do other Australians feel the education system is preparing students for the future? According to the Australia Talks National Survey, just 37 per cent of people are satisfied on this front, while 43 per cent are dissatisfied.

It’s an area Adam Boyton, Australia’s first National Skills Commissioner, is keenly focused on.

His job includes making sure education and training aligns with the skills needed in the workforce.

“But if I boil all of that down, I think what it means is this: we’re going to see jobs of the future in caring roles, in computing and then, really importantly, there are jobs of the future that machines find it really hard to replicate, so that’s non-routine, cognitive-type jobs, creative jobs.”

A man with folded arms looking into the camera.
Adam Boyton says future jobs are going to be predominantly higher skilled.(ABC News: Dan Irvine

)

Jobs in caring, computing and creating

One-third of working-age Australians hold a VET-level qualification as their highest qualification.

Mr Boyton’s number one tip for school leavers and parents helping their teenagers navigate their future pathways is to consider further education.

“There’s a common thread that I think links a lot of the work we’ve done around the jobs of the future and that really is the importance of post-secondary education, be it university or vocational education and training,” Mr Boyton said.

“The jobs of the future are going to be predominantly higher skilled and they’re going to require that additional bit of education beyond just high school.”

Ella McDonald, four months into her Diploma of Enrolled Nursing at TAFE in Hobart, feels confident her education is setting her up for the long-term.

A woman in a nurse uniform, next to a hospital bed.
Ella McDonald says the pandemic had only strengthened her future prospects. (ABC News: Selina Ross

)

Health care and social assistance top the government’s JobOutlook list for future career prospects, along with professional, scientific and technical, and education and training.

The health industry’s varied pathways and strong job prospects were what attracted her to follow her mother’s footsteps into a nursing career.

“You can also travel a lot with nursing, get a job easily, which inspired me to do it.”

Ms McDonald said the pandemic had only strengthened her future prospects.

“Because there’s a bigger need now than ever, there’s a health crisis, so hopefully everyone graduating now from nursing can help out with that,” she said.

Seeking out soft skills

Mr Boyton also advised seeking out other ways to gain skills.

“One of the other things employers are looking for isn’t just formal qualifications but it’s what we call soft skills or employability skills,” Mr Boyton said.

“You can pick them up through a wide range of activities, be it volunteering, be it work experience.”

Brittany Toy will soon complete her Certificate III in Education Support at Perth’s North Metropolitan TAFE.

A woman standing in a classroom. She is wearing a striped jumper
Brittany Toy has worked outside of her TAFE course to boost her soft skills.(ABC News

)

“I always loved school and wanted to work in a primary school to help students to learn and have more support,” she said.

Ms Toy, who is deaf, has worked outside her TAFE course to boost her soft skills.

“I’ve taught F45 in Dianella in sign language and now they are able to communicate with me,” she said.

“I also play netball for the UWA [University of Western Australia] social sport, and my team is very welcoming and accepting of me.”

No more ‘job for life’

Career consultant Jackie Simpson said the workforce had changed significantly in Australia in recent decades, shifting from ‘hands’ or manufacturing work to ‘heads’ or intellectual work, and ‘hearts’ or caring work.

A woman sitting on a chair, holding her glasses.
Career consultant Jackie Simpson says the workforce has changed significantly in Australia in recent decades.(ABC News: Michael Nudl

)

She said the education system needed to reflect that shift.

“It’s much easier to train someone to pack boxes than it is to teach someone or educate someone to be able to be intuitive and to be respectful and to have a philosophy that’s underpinned by a knowledge of people and how people function.

“So, I think there’s a bit of work for the schools space.”

Ms Simpson’s tip for parents was to let go of the idea of their children having one career.

“There’s no such thing as a job for life,” she said.

“At the moment it’s looking at anywhere between five and 15 different jobs in your life and for some people it’s a lot more.

“We are really looking at a hybrid type of work, where perhaps people do a bit of part-time work, they maybe have their own side hustle that they’re doing, they’re maybe selling something online or doing something else on the weekend.”

The Australia Talks National Survey asked 60,000 Australians about their lives and what keeps them up at night. Use our interactive tool to see the results and how your answers compare.

On iview, watch the Australia Talks TV special, as hosts Annabel Crabb and Nazeem Hussain take you through the key findings and explore the survey with some of Australia’s best-loved celebrities.

News Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-22/australia-talks-education-jobs-of-the-future/100230042

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Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
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Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.

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Australians say they’re not convinced the education system prepares us for the workforce. So what are the jobs of the future? – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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