Lifelong Learning is the Future of Work

In the year 2030, you may be working in a job that doesn’t even exist yet. We’re not talking about flying cars or developing the world’s first time machine. The requirements, levels and styles of all kinds of work are evolving very fast, which means you need to understand how you can prepare for future roles that may emerge.

There’s no guaranteed way to tell exactly what skills will be needed in the future, and which ones will become obsolete. However, based on current observations and patterns of how artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics work, we have some basic ideas about how we can prepare for the future.

According to a report from Pearson, Nesta and the Oxford Martin School titled “The Future of Work and Skills: Predicting Employment in the US and UK Economies in 2030”, human cognitive and interpersonal skills will be the most important requirements in future workplaces, even with the rise of AI and automation.

One thing we need to understand is machines need humans to manage and control them. Future workers will need new skills to work with machines.

Human cognitive and interpersonal skills will be the most important requirements in future workplaces
As working environments around the world become overwhelmed by technology, a lifelong learning mindset is imperative to close skills gaps that emerge as work evolves.

One of the most important traits that humans will need to develop in the future is the ability to be a lifelong learner. Let’s look at three ways that lifelong learning can help in the future of work.

  1. Lifelong learning helps an individual to learn anywhere, anytime. Lifelong learning isn’t just about digital or AI skills. It is about having a mindset that allows the brain to be open and receptive at any given time and place.

As the style of work changes over time, so too do styles of learning. Different people learn in different ways. Traditional classroom or online platforms might not be the most useful approaches in the future. Since information is everywhere, it takes an open mindset to be always ready to effectively absorb, evaluate and make sense of the information that is so easily accessible wherever we are.

One good example of the application of a lifelong learning mindset is blended learning. Some companies have started blended learning programmes that provide many different options to explore various topics (from technical to life skills) to people from all age groups.

Blended learning gives all kinds of learners the opportunity to learn based on their personal preference and style, at their convenience, and promotes continuous lifelong learning.

  1. Lifelong learning increases your adaptability skills. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute found by 2030, up to 14% of the global workforce (375 million people) may need to be working in a different job role or skill, and all workers will need to have greater adaptability in order to excel in their new roles. Many other studies have indicated that adaptability is also the single most important leadership skill for the future.

Considering the speed at which the job market is changing due to digitisation — and the pace will quicken as AI gathers momentum — the lines between technical and non-technical roles are slowly fading away.

Adaptability can be a challenge for employees who have been working in the same role and same organisation for many years, and are used to the traditional way of doing things. A lifelong learning mindset can help change this perspective and increase the adaptability of the employee.

  1. Lifelong learning increases employability. Amazon has announced that it will invest US$700 million to retrain 100,000 employees — a third of its US workforce — in new technologies to prepare them for the future of work. The Amazon Technical Academy and Machine Learning University are among the institutions carrying out this role.

Many Amazon employees have shared their testimony that these programmes have opened new opportunities for them to grow and transition into new roles.

New skills not only help them to retain their jobs but also increase their value within the company.

However, one of the challenges in reskilling and upskilling is many older employees are reluctant to learn new skills or consider it too late for them to change roles, which ultimately makes them unfit for the future.

To help employees develop a learner’s mindset, leaders need to promote a lifelong learning environment and culture within the organisation, where every employee strives to grow at every stage of their career.

The lifelong learning mindset has great potential to close most of the skills gaps that might emerge as work evolves in the future.

It is a good starting point for all learning programmes and reskilling initiatives.

However, it may not be as effective as expected unless the organisation’s leaders are willing to fully commit and lead by example in implementation.

For a lifelong learning mindset to develop, it requires a personal interest from the learner to grow at every stage of their career, supported by constant encouragement and motivation from leaders and management.

Via: Bangkok Post

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