The future of education

The number of jobs in education is set to grow by 73%, but are our future students employable?

Future of Education

The employment landscape is changing. And even though we can’t control how the future of the job market will play out, we can use evidence-based predictions to embrace change and the future of education.

We’ve identified seven major trends that will impact future job opportunities: automation, globalisation, demographic change, environmental sustainability, urbanisation, inequality and political uncertainty. These trends will interact to create new jobs and render others obsolete. In fact, it’s predicted that 70% of current workers are in jobs where there is uncertainty in the future. This means that today’s students are likely to be job-hunting in an employment landscape that is completely different to ours today.

And this, combined with a predicted 73% growth in teaching jobs between now and 2030, raises questions about what and how we should teach in our classrooms. Both future school teachers and their educators should understand that if we want to equip students with the mix of skills they’ll need for a changing employment landscape then what and how we teach will need to change too.


Skills future employers will look for

For teachers to meet the future needs of school students, the mix of skills they’re teaching will have to shift. Research commissioned by Pearson and conducted by Oxford University and innovation foundation, Nesta, uncovered skills that will be in demand in 2030.
They are:

  1. Fluency of ideas: the ability to generate a number of ideas quickly – but not evaluate them immediately. A cornerstone of creative thinking and problem-solving.
  2. Active learning: the act of being engaged with and participating in what’s going on in the workplace, as well as collaborating with fellow employees.
  3. Learning strategies: reflective thinking, seeking help from others and use of trial and error.
  4. Originality: the capacity to transform knowledge in order to generate new ideas and concepts.
  5. Coordination: the ability to prioritise, refocus attention, overcome challenges and organise workload.

These skills are not subject or course-specific – and they’re not confined to one industry – they’re applicable to all industries. In short, future employers will want employees who have a good grasp of the very skills that make us inherently human.


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) can equip school students with these skills

Employers want workers with personal skills, people skills and workplace skills. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL is a process designed to teach:

  1. Self-awareness: identifying emotions, building self-confidence and an accurate self-perception and recognising strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Self-management: impulse control, stress management, self-motivation, goal-setting and organisation.
  3. Social awareness: perspective-taking, empathy, respect for others and an appreciation for diversity.
  4. Relationship skills: communication, listening, social engagement, relationship
  5. Responsible decision-making: ethical responsibilities, identification and solving of problems, analysing situations, evaluation and reflection.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that SEL skills meet many of the employability needs identified by business leaders. Compare the SEL and future skills lists above and it’s clear to see that SEL teaches the very attributes that employers look for.

Teachers of today don’t view school students as passive learners that respond to techniques like rote learning and lecturing. Instead, there’s a push towards student-centred learning and teaching the social and emotional skills that will help school students understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, empathise with others, cultivate positive relationships and make responsible decisions. And these are the type of skills that school students will need in order to flourish in an uncertain employment landscape.


So what does all this mean for the future of education?

It’s an interesting question. Certain trends and research allow us to make evidence-based predictions about the future of education. We know there will be a rise in the demand for teachers, a growth in jobs that don’t exist yet and a need for a new set of skills to be taught in order for school students to be employable in a changing job market.

We also know that we’re lifelong partners with learners. We’re committed to creating resources that will help educators move away from just being vessels of information and towards being guides, coaches and mentors for their students. That means understanding the needs of educators and staying up-to-date with trends and research so we can create resources that have real purpose in real classrooms.

It’s essential that teachers are equipped with the right resources to help today’s school students prepare for the world of tomorrow. And even more essential is the need to begin introducing these resources into our classrooms now.

If you want to find out how we can help guide you and your classroom to the future of education contact us or view our range of teacher education resources.

Future of education 2


Related articles

  • Future Jobs

    Future Jobs

    Are you training for a job that will be gone in five years?

    Read More
  • 5 skills employers look for

    5 skills employers look for

    What can we do to ensure universities are helping all students – current and future – acquire the skills employers look for?

    Read More
  • Sought after skills in 2030

    Sought after skills in 2030

    David Barnett speaks about the research we commissioned on Future Skills

    Read More
  • How will automation change the lecturer's role?

    How will automation change the lecturer's role?

    Despite the rise of MOOCs and Google, the need for teachers is still there.

    Read More
  • Adapting to the changing teaching landscape

    Adapting to the changing teaching landscape

    Key attributes educators in 2030 will need to ensure employability in 2030.

    Read More