How do we prepare young people for jobs that don’t exist yet?

For many years now, people have been remarking, ‘How do we prepare young people for jobs that don’t exist yet?’ People are questioning if jobs in some industries will become automated or redundant? In preparation, Careers Education in schools has long focused on programs to develop employability skills.

I think we can all agree, that no one was basing such statements on the fact that in 2020 there would be a global pandemic that would have such a significant impact on the world of work and employment rates. Some industries have been hard hit, some mildly; the way we all have had to work has changed. We have been forced indoors and requested to work from home if possible. Some industries will never return in a full-time face-to-face capacity and as such, how will these impact opportunities for the next generation?

Due to Government enforced staged restrictions some occupations have been significantly impacted due to an inability to provide an online alternative. Some industries may never recover. How does a young graduate experience an internship or summer vocational program if more people are working from home? 

During my time as an educator, online learning has always existed, but it has centred around providing an education for students living in remote rural communities or being hospitalised and unable to physically attend school. Distance education has always been an option, but not nearly to the extent that we can now offer learning. Who would ever have thought that classes would be taught with the teacher in one location, and each student in another? Yet we can and are doing so, as I write this article.

I have just met with Year 11 students who are providing me with some incredible insights on how we can transform the way in which education is delivered at St Catherine’s for future generations. These students know how things were pre-COVID-19 and in-COVID-19. It is insightful to hear what they would like to see continued and transfer into learning for students post-COVID-19.

These discussions have allowed me to understand how this generation of students will cope in the workforce. They will be the generation that thinks with an agile mind, are more resilient to cope with change, and are futures focused through understanding the now. They will be best placed to deal with the task, how they get there by blocking out the noise and things out of their control to meet deadlines and achieve objectives. They will be successful, more technologically perceptive and will be able to cope with adversity. As such, what employer wouldn’t be grateful to have such an employee in their organisation?

The Careers team in 2020 has seen a new addition. With Sally Wilkinson on family leave, we welcomed Mrs Kristy Tine to the team. Kristy has reflected on her first term of face-to-face Careers at St Catherine’s:

“A strong sense of community is always important in dealing with environmental change such as COVID-19, the St. Catherine’s students showcase this with their peer-to-peer interactions. It has been inspiring to see the resilience of students to meet these changes head on, both individually and collectively in finding a way to succeed this year. It would have been easy to give up, but everyone has remained committed and supportive of those around them. One of the key challenges this year has seen VET (Vocational Education and Training) students studying practical and work-orientated hands on skills from home. These students have navigated an ever-changing learning environment, with a key portion of their curriculum in practical sessions. They have remained positive and adaptable to the challenges presented. Good luck to all students in the coming months.”

Mrs Pauline van der Poel

Director of Planning and Organisation, Careers Practitioner

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