Taking a lead from the recent AGCAS Phoenix magazine with the theme “Careers concepts which should be banned” (and by that I mean stealing the idea) I would like to put forward a concept, or more specifically a phrase, that I contend should be forever banned from a politician’s vocabulary when speaking about careers work in Secondary schools…
……unless, that is, they actually start using it in the way it should be used.
The “jobs that don’t yet exist” phrase is usually deployed by politicians in their speeches when they attempt to confront the numerous issues identified by the numerous reports regarding the state of school age Careers work and to show they can understand the bigger picture. It conjures forth job titles from the space age such as Hydrogen Station Manager and Avatar security consultant that hold the promise of exciting new careers awaiting (somehow) prepared youngsters. A phrase that is designed to highlight their keen economic mind and but, in reality, ends up saying absolutely nothing.
A recent example appeared in Tristram Hunt’s speech at a Policy Exchange event but Micheal Gove has also been happy to jump on the “future jobs” bandwagon.
How can we prepare young people for jobs that don’t yet exist in industries that haven’t yet been invented in a world-changing faster than any of us can predict?
During Hunt’s speech I tweeted:
which *I think* people took the wrong way, which is why I’m writing this post; most uses of the “preparing young people for jobs that don’t yet exist” phrase bandwagon are utterly empty cul-de-sacs of educational discourse that our elected leaders hide in when they want to sound interesting. Of course, political speeches are often the art of making complicated civil service structural reform and legislation into headline grabbing generalisations but those of us at the coal face would still like to cling to the slim hope that this can be achieved with a smidgen of substance.
This doesn’t do that. It merely states the obvious, that schools have never known the future jobs their alumni would graduate to.
That is that schools and whatever wider careers framework they lead to have already been preparing young people for jobs that didn’t exist yet since, well, the beginning of schools and education.
Whatever formal schooling Tony Janus received in Washington DC at the turn of the 20th century it prepared him well enough to become the world’s first commercial airline pilot.
I doubt that Jonathon Fletcher’s school experience in Scarborough included learning about the possibilities of web-based indexing systems but that didn’t stop him writing Jumpstation in 1993, the first search engine.
When Adam Kontras started to document his move to Los Angeles to ‘make it’ in show-business with online vlogs, I doubt very much that his school experience covered becoming the first vlogger in an industry that now earns beauty vloggers up to £20,000 a month.
These are 3 examples from millions. Progress happens on the foundations laid by education and innovation.
Another problem with predicting the “jobs of the future” soothsayers trick is that those predictions are only based on a few criteria such as expected progress in affordable technology. Only a few years ago large numbers of people retrained to become Domestic Energy Assessors as the Government was due to introduce a requirement to gain an energy assessment as part of the planned Home Information Pack (HIP). Until, that was, when the HIP was scrapped and, for a period, all of those newly qualified Assessors became suddenly unnecessary. An entire career pathway hung in the balance not due to advancements in technology or the changing needs of the market but on the stroke of a bureaucrats pen.
The CEIAG sector needs our politicians to be more lucid and eloquent when speaking about preparing the next generation for their career pathways. We need them to be able to summarise the skills and attributes that business leaders are saying will be needed to navigate the future labour market. Attributes to succeed such as:
and those detailed in reports such as Tomorrow’s Growth from the CBI.
This “future jobs” nonsense needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history before anymore of this ‘future’ happens.