There’s something special about attending transnational meetings during the World Cup. It’s a stress-free experience if you’re Scottish, as we are never in the finals! So, in the evening after a recent My Generation at Work meeting I enjoyed watching the games with colleagues from the partner cities.
What’s all this got to do with football? Well, my point is about passing – the key component of teamwork. On the pitch, the perfect pass anticipates where the receiver will be. Ideally the passer puts the ball into space – an empty space that their team-mate will soon occupy, allowing them to take the ball without losing speed. In the same way, the ideal preparation for working life should take account of how the future world of work will be. Except it usually doesn’t. By and large, we are still preparing our young people for a world of work that no longer exists. Our juggernaut systems assume that young people will enter full-time jobs and largely remain in single career paths, despite all the evidence to the contrary!
You wonder if supply-side planners ever look out of their office windows. If so, they will see zero-hours contracts and portfolio working the norm for many labour market entrants. Keep looking out and they will soon see driverless cars, 3D printers and drones reshaping the labour market even further. And that’s not even taking account of the impact of the Sharing Economy – airband, UBER and so on.
No doubt, the relentless pace of change is proving a challenge to many education and training systems. It feels that someone, somewhere has turned the conveyer belt up several notches. At a recent OECD event future employment guru Denis Pennel reflected on this, pointing out that in the 1930s the average lifespan of a US business was 75 years, whereas now it’s 15. So we’d better get used to it.