How to Prepare K-12 Students for the Future of Work

K-12 Education

Educating children and preparing them for their future is complicated work. Did you know that 65% of K-12 students will be employed for jobs that don’t even exist yet? This is what the World of The Economics Forum recently stated. In fact, McKinsey Global predicts a world where most of the current jobs we have today will be automated in the future by machine learning and artificial intelligence. recommends that you have a solid plan in place to ensure your kids have a great future ahead of them. This requires some sacrifices now but what you do today will have a huge effect on your child’s future.

So how do we prepare children for the future of employment if we don’t know what kind of jobs they’ll aspire for in the future? To answer that question, here are some of the most fundamental skills K-12 students should have for the in-demand jobs of the future:


Soft Skills

When we think about the future of work, we imagine a group of workers in a computing lab developing new technology. This could be how it’ll actually look like but we must not forget that we’re humans and our soft-skills will continue to be valuable in the future. Maybe you can’t teach your kindergarten students how to build a computer or learn JavaScript, but you can surely encourage them to use their soft-skills that will be useful for their future.

Problem-Solving-problem skills or creativity could be some of the most important ones. Most of the tech-related jobs have something to do with logical thinking and creativity, so no matter what type of job they’ll choose, encourage them to use those soft-skills to help them prepare for their future.


Focus on Innovation 

Innovation has always been the main source of technological advancements, so encouraging your students to learn with innovative skills will make them more proficient in finding new paths and new solutions. There’s an interesting initiative from Dublin City University (DCU). A new program developed by Anne Looney, Dean of Education at DCU, promises to develop innovation-related skills in teachers so they’re able to educate students with innovative mindsets. 

The program consists of allowing teachers to spend some time working at tech-related organizations to expand their experience and understand the innovation world from its roots. Although this process is still in the early stages, it has started to pay off positively.


Encourage Digital Literacy

Today’s young students are digital natives, they know how to use technology more than any other adult would have done at their age. However, some children only connect with technology through mobile devices. But technology is broad and the possibilities of using it in education are endless. You can encourage young students to create digital products based on their interests. This is a fun way to motivate them to use technology for something positive and improve their digital literacy skills.


Use Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies could be the best way to introduce children to the future of work and to give them a glimpse of how it will look like. This is a huge challenge in education because some schools don’t have access to emerging technologies. 

According to a recent PwC survey, most K-12 teachers don’t feel prepared to teach technology to their students due to a lack of available tools. However, there are great organizations and programs where schools can access emerging technology systems such as Google or Microsoft’s DreamSpace program. The DreamSpaceis program allows young students to interact with virtual reality assisted systems. In doing so, students will know how new forms of technology works and how they could be implemented in various industries.


Educate Them to Be Resilient 

The combination of resilience, innovation, and creativity is considered an in-demand soft skill in the future of employment. Technology is always changing and every day, we have new trends that will shape our future. That’s why adapting to an evolving ecosystem is important for young students.

Elizabeth Edwards once defined resilience with the best words: “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”


Empathy and Creativity 

Robots are taking over some jobs, this is true. People are usually concerned about this because they believe that there is no place for humans in the future of work. But there is nothing farther away from reality. Humans have two things There is something that robots don’t have: that humans do empathy and creativity. These two skills will continue to be important in the future. That’s why the best thing you could do for your students is to encourage them to utilize empathy and creativity. You could do this by practicing design and emphasizing the importance of emotional health. 

Although you don’t necessarily have to teach your students coding skills, there are other crucial skills like problem-solving skills, creativity, innovation, and analytical thinking. 

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