HOW CAN WE HELP GRADUATES TO STAY RELEVANT FOR WORK IN THE 4TH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?

Feb, 2020

Imagine to graduate after spending 3-5 years at the university but without any guarantee to find a job when you’ve finished your studies. Think about the amount of money, time and energy you’ve put into getting that degree. And when you finally receive that diploma – it is worth absolutely nothing, at least for the next 5 years.

Today it will take up to 5 years after graduation for students to get a full time job, compared to back in 1989 when it only took 1 year. Post grads today do not have issues finding a job because they have studied at the wrong university or taken irrelevant classes for their degree. They have done everything they need to do.. on paper that is! What they usually do not have, are the soft skills nor the real world experiences required to land a relevant job within their field. And why is that? Frankly schools have trouble keeping up with the requirements of the modern day work market.

Let me take you back in history so that you can understand why the journey to a full time job only took 1 year back in the 80’s and nowadays it takes up to 5 years.

We have to step back for a bit and take an overall look on what has changed over the past 30 years in our world. Anything that directly comes to mind? What do you say if I say the word: technology?

Technology has changed significantly over the past 30 years. And whether we like it or not, technology has made a major impact on our lives. People living in the modern world have gone from having a fixed phone on the wall to now having a smartphone in their pocket which contains more computer power than the Apollo 11.

From Steam Engines To Artificial Intelligence

To give you a broader perspective on how technology has changed our society, and how the processes really have affected us we need to rewind the time just a little bit more than to the 1980’s. Going from the 1st industrial revolution in 1765 up until now, that we are soon entering the 5th industrial revolution – the transformation has been incredible.

Seeing the transformation from the mid 18th century when we ran machines on water power or steam, to the 19th century when Edison brightened up everybody’s lives with the electrical light bulb and we started making them through automated factories. Or when the computers became commonly introduced to us in the late 20th century. Until today when we have put those computers inside robots who can do almost any industrial job better than us humans. Just that today we no longer produce light bulbs but we are rather handling big data and artificial intelligence in an automated manner.

Not a Robot? Then Become An Expert On Being Human!

This means that robots are actually replacing humans for certain jobs. What this also means is that we need to take advantage of the human skills that we possess, train them and do the jobs that robots will never do better than us.

What employers are looking for today are not people who can ramble all the paragraphs from the book of law, neither who can calculate the exact angle to build a doorway nor who can assembly the largest amount of smartphones during an hour. Today machines can do all those things for us, and then some.

Companies today look for people with high level of human skills, also known as ‘soft skills’ such as social capabilities, creative thinking and problem solving, just to name a few. The problem employers see is that students graduating today lack many of these soft skills. Mainly because the educational system we have today was developed around the same time Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and automation was the greatest thing the world economy had seen in a long time. Therefore we prepared students for automated work. Because it was the main demand at the time.

Ever since then the educational system has not gone through the same evolution that the rest of our society has. This is the main reason why the gap from graduation to employment has increased so dramatically in the past 30 years.

Why Are Graduates Not Getting Jobs When Millions Are Provided?

Another issue the US job market is facing is that it nowadays exists more jobs than people looking for jobs. Last year according to the US Department of Labor the US economy had 7.6 million unfilled positions and it had 6.5 million people looking for jobs. This indicated that there is a major skills gap. The skills demanded are not being provided.

Along with the skills gap, technology is moving faster than we have had time to realize. Then imagine how  educational institutions are supposed to keep up with that? It is close to impossible.

The Solution: Relevant Skills At The Right Time!

These problems can not be solved by a machine. We need people who are dedicated educators and also career advisors that are aware of the situation. People who are willing to integrate new methodologies, pedagogies and other innovative tools in their curriculum and educational programing. Students are depending on dedicated professionals in the educational institutions to help them become functioning professionals before they graduate. The reason for this being that students will not need to go out and collect relevant skills for 5 years after graduation but to gain them while they are actually in school to get ready for the workplace.

Back when Corkscrew started 7 years ago we saw that the internship model was flawed, students were not provided with real hands on tasks for them to develop their hard and soft skills. Now we can see that the same thing is happening inside the classrooms. Corkscrew now wants to work together with dedicated educators to change the future of the students who are stuck in the school of yesterday for the workplace of today.

If you want to learn more about how we help students to stay relevant for the future world of work and how we could work together with your institution? Feel free to reach out to me on cecilia@corkscrew.io

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