Employers and schools need to work together to prepare young people for the world of work and develop the skills businesses will need to compete in the face of intensifying competition and market volatility. As the fourth industrial revolution continues to radically alter the world of work, the report argues that reforming education and training is of vital importance. It stresses the fact that education policy is turning our schools into ‘exam factories’ which are still teaching method and recall, the easiest skills to automate. It highlights the problems employers are facing filling skills gaps and the problems young people are facing developing the skills that matter.
The report identifies these key areas where significant progress is needed to ensure that young people are prepared to succeed in this new economic landscape:
- Schools must focus on the application of knowledge rather than simply the acquisition of it, and boost the level of 'soft' skills and character in young people.
- There should be an increased emphasis on coding and on STEM subjects to provide stronger foundations for the digital and creative revolution.
- There must be collaboration and partnerships between businesses and employers and schools and colleges to ensure that every school has high quality world of work programmes and access to independent careers education and guidance alongside employer coaching, mentoring and engagement for students.
- Students from the age of 13 onwards should experience multiple, high-quality experiences of the world of work so that they can learn from employers and be better informed and equipped to make the right choices to help achieve their future career aspirations
- Students must be supported to manage their own learning and determine the development of their own skills, meaning that one of the core functions of 21st-century schools will be teaching students how to learn for themselves.
- Students digital skills must be complemented by the development of character, critical thinking, evaluation and self-management.