Preparing tomorrow's workforce for 4IR

October 2020

Source: Unsplash


Young people arguably have the most to gain from building an entrepreneurial mindset.

A young person who is entrepreneurial is likely to be confident, comfortable with the unknown and a lifelong learner -- all key attributes to be successful in the future of work.

And the need to secure these skills has never been more urgent. According to the Foundation for Young Australians, today’s teenagers are likely to have 17 different jobs over five careers during their lifetime.

Young people will enter the workforce during unprecedented times of change with new industries emerging, traditional sectors changing and occupying jobs that haven’t even been thought of yet by most organisations.

Remember when it was just Julia from accounts or Harry from the workshop? Young people will be introduced to Jessica from artificial intelligence, Simon from ethics and are very likely to meet them over an online induction.

It therefore makes sense to get young people thinking about innovation while they’re still in primary or secondary school. 

Even if their ambition is to move into professions such as law or engineering, the Education Council of Australia suggests students must look beyond academic success and toward employability skills, prompting educators to combine core subjects with courses in computer programming and design thinking.

The education community is calling on more schools to teach students soft skills that look beyond academic success to create the leaders and innovators that will thrive in the fourth industrial revolution.

The in-school programme Activate, led by Future Anything, does just that by embedding 21st century skills and entrepreneurial mindsets in classrooms across Australia. 

GW3 partnered with Future Anything to teach young people how to design innovative, for-purpose business solutions that make a difference in the real world.

More than 10 schools from across the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region participated in the program to bring these skills to the youth community. 

Students are given the opportunity to pitch business ideas, develop prototypes and sell innovative solutions that tackle a range of areas including health, science, english and geography. 

The winner of the regional final will automatically progress to the national semi-finals with the best-of-the-best competing in the grand final alongside the winner of the people’s vote.

Activate exposes young students to the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution while empowering them with the skills, support and community needed to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution. 

If you’d like to join the live online audience to watch each school pitch their business idea to the judges, click here to register for the Zoom and YouTube streamed event on Tuesday 13 October.

What other ways can we help young people prepare for the future of work?

Professional services firm Deloitte in its report “Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” has charted how communities, education services, businesses and governments can work together to support the next generation with the following models.

Education-based models

Work alongside, complementary or traditional education systems such as primary and secondary schools, either providing in-school training, opportunities for apprenticeships or supporting after-school and out-of-school programming.

Nonprofit models

Provide community-driven skills development opportunities, leveraging knowledge within the community to create responsive programming that fulfills the needs of business and young people.

Government-sponsored models

Act as a bridge between education, the workforce and young people to provide information, outline career pathways and establish standardising qualifications to facilitate communication between young people, the workforce and formal education.

Youth-led models

Directly incorporate youth voices into program planning and development, establishing feedback loops and driving interaction between young people and the business community.

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