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Skills Young People Need for the Future

Last month, the Foundation of Young Australians (FYA) released a report predicting what skills and capabilities will matter most for Australian jobs in 2030.

The report aimed to give young people a chance to understand current changes to the job market and help them adapt by highlighting key areas of change in the future.

The fifth instalment of FYA’s research New Work Smarts, analysed over 20 billion hours of work across 400 occupations to predict that every job will be affected in some way by automation by 2030. By that year, Australian’s current primary school students will be almost finished high school and high school students will be joining the workforce.

We therefore need to make sure we are preparing our young people for the world of work as it will be, rather than as it is now or as it has been in the past.

According to the report, young people are more likely to experience a portfolio career, with 17 jobs over 5 careers across their lifetime.

FYA CEO Jane Owen said that it is important to move away from predicting which jobs will be replaced by automation, and instead focus on preparing for a future where every job is changed by it.

“What this report shows us is that to be ‘work smart’ in the future, young people will need not only acquire foundation and technical skills, but be able to use these in increasingly entrepreneurial and creative ways, as well as possessing a thirst for ongoing learning,” Ms Owen said.

Key stats

The study predicts that by 2030 young people will:

  • Spend 30% more time per week learning skills on the job

  • Spend 100% more time at work solving problems

  • Spend significantly more time critical thinking and using STEM skills

  • Use written and verbal skills for 29 hours per week

  • Need entrepreneurial mindset due to less management, less organisational co-ordination and less teaching

Job Clusters

The study analysed over 2.7 million job advertisements to find seven job clusters in the Australian economy.

Image courtesy of FYA

What does this mean for young people now?

Ms Owen said a new mindset is needed that focuses on skills and capabilities rather than specific jobs.

“To ensure young Australians are prepared and equipped for their futures, FYA is calling for a renewed, comprehensive and inter-generational investment in Australia’s young people,” she said.

Currently in our schools we are teaching students a range of skills that the curriculum suggests will help them gain entry to Higher or Vocational Education. STEM skills are starting to be addressed. Students re being encouraged to be the best they can be within the system. (ie Obtain a high ATAR)

However, where are we preparing them for being entrepreneurial? Some schools, for example, are introducing programs such as ‘Girls Invent’ in Victoria. Is it across the board?

And where are young being supported in finding where they fit in the seven categories outlined above. Or to navigate the overwhelming amount of information out there when trying to choose subjects or apply to courses?

There are not enough Career Development Practitioners in schools to support students so that they can make informed decisions. Who will be the brave school that invests in teaching students to be entrepreneurial? Who will be the first to have a team of qualified and experienced Career Practitioners supported from the top down and with enough employed at an appropriate salary to ensure students are prepared for the future of work?

Principals often talk about careers and the future with parents and students but few know enough about it or are progressive, brave and entrepreneurial enough themselves to take the steps needed to really bring our young people into the 21st Century world of work. They do the best they can but maybe we need to bring Careers Education into the Masters of Educational Leadership or equivalent that many principals are studying,

The discussion needs to continue. Parents could start asking questions when deciding what schools they send their children to. Not about the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) or other results, but what is being done to prepare my child for the future? What programs are in place? How many Careers Practitioners are there in the school? Is that enough for this many students? What training has the principal had in Career Development?

You can read the full report here:

Or try the FYA job cluster quiz here:

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