When parents approach me for career guidance for their children, the common question is, how do we prepare our children to be successful in the future?
We know the world is changing very fast and there are new careers emerging. For this, we have to prepare our students to adapt to the new changes.
Approximately 65% of our students will be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet. So, how do we prepare our students for such a situation. This is the reason I always encourage students to focus on building essential skills which will prepare them to succeed in a future filled with uncertainty.
Today we shall discuss developing these essential skills in our students.
Enough and more has been written, spoken and discussed on building essential communication skills. It’s important skill for our students to master if they want to increase their employability. It is not only important to communicate but to learn to communicate effectively.
Once I was reading an article on LinkedIn, wherein it was mentioned that we need our students to learn how to learn. This statement caught my attention. Students should be able to continuously adapt to changing conditions as well as be able to learn new things quickly and efficiently. They should be open to learning new things continuously. They are sadly not aware of this, they believe that passing out with flying colours from a top institute will make them successful. But they are not aware that to grow within the organisation they need to be open to learning.
Critical thinking and problem solving
In a rapidly changing world, employers need employees who can solve problems, provide ideas and help improve the organization. We need to thus, expose students to various projects which will invoke the need to think critically and solve problems.
Most of the academic assessments ask students for answers. Rarely do we assess students on how well they can ask questions. The ability to ask great questions, however, is a critical skill that is desperately needed in our new age world which requires constant innovations.
It’s an age wherein collaboration precedes over competition. Our students thus need to build collaboration skills. The sooner our students learn this the better for their future. Our classrooms should thus provide opportunities for collaborative activities.
I was reading an article today in the newspaper about Ms Srikripa Srinivasan who started out as a chartered accountant and is now Vice President of Dell Global Analytics. She mentions that during the technology boom, she realised that she will need to work on her technology skills as the world of accounting was adopting to the new methods of recording data. She says she aligned her career choices in the direction in which technology evolved. For her, it involved picking up new technology and figuring out how to navigate her core subject finance into the new world of opportunity.
This explains how important it is to develop technology skills and stay relevant.
Creativity and Innovation
Ask relevant questions, be able to solve problems creatively and innovate. I keep mentioning to my students in every counselling session. It’s a time wherein Artificial intelligence is taking up our jobs. So, it’s important that students are able to creatively find solutions to existing problems.
Empathy and Perspective
What does humans have that AI doesn’t? Empathy and human perspective isn’t it ! And does our education system help build this essential attribute to our personality? The ability for our students to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, to understand their feelings, and to help solve their problems is getting lost. We need to make our youth aware of the same as it will prepare them to become an indispensable part of the organisation that they will work for.
Schools rarely spend time teaching students skills such as time management skills, organisational skills. Whenever I conduct a career assessment test for the students, I have observed that most do not possess these skills. I have also heard a number of times for HR managers that these skills seem to be disappearing. Thus, our students need to work on this before they start looking out for jobs, because no one wants to hire inefficient people.
There is a need that educators stop depending on skills, such as memorisation and recall, and help students develop higher-order thinking skills such as applying, analysing, evaluating, and creating.
Then, and only then, will we be helping students to develop the skills that will help them be successful in their careers.