Over the past 18 months, the Foundation for Young Australians has produced a series of reports to understand the economic and social conditions affecting young people today and into the future – and to chart a course for how Australia best prepares its young people to drive economic and social progress in decades to come. 'The New Basics' is the the next report in this series and analyses big data to show that there is a growing demand from employers for young workers to have what they call 'enterprise skills'.
Their 'enterprise skills' are transferable skills that allow young people to navigate complex careers across a range of industries and professions. They include problem solving, financial literacy, digital literacy, critical thinking, teamwork, creativity and communication and are different from the technical skills specific to a particular task, role or industry. We know that demand for these skills is on the rise – particularly in the jobs of the future. In fact, the so-called jobs of the future demand these skills 70% more than jobs of the past. Jobs that require these skills also pay more.
The report suggests that Australia should develop a national skills strategy, which would help all young Australians to learn to be digitally-literate, financially-savvy, innovative and adaptable and help them navigate the complex careers of the future and thrive in every aspect of their lives. It should:
- Begin early in primary school and build consistently, year on year, throughout high school;
- Be provided in ways that young people want to learn: through experience of the world of work;
- Provide accurate information and exposure about where future jobs will exist and the skills to craft and navigate multiple careers;
- Engage students, schools, industry and parents in co-designing opportunities inside and outside the classroom.