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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

If you were Education Secretary, how would you make sure young people were prepared for work in 2030?

Education is our most powerful tool for preparing young people for the future. Although there is much about the future that we can’t know or prepare for, there are some areas where we can make predictions with real confidence.

Nesta’s recent research with Pearson explores how employment is likely to change in the future. The findings provide strong evidence that a mix of social and cognitive skills - what are sometimes described as '21st century skills' - are associated with occupations that are expected to become more important. So how should policymakers ensure that our education system reflects the nature of work in the future?

We asked five leading experts:

‘If you were Education Secretary, what would you prioritise to ensure our education system was preparing people for the nature of work in 2030?’

We also held a public vote for the best answer, see the results below. We’ll be discussing how our education system can prepare people for the future at our flagship education and skills event, Acting Now for Future Skills.

1. 'Prioritise wellbeing and make sure exams are not the only measure of success'

Education secretary quote

2. 'Improve teacher training'

Education secretary quote

3. 'Track how business developments are affecting the demands for different types of skills'

Education secretary quote

4. 'Give greater priority to cyber security, virtual reality, engineering, robotics and computer science in the curriculum'

Education secretary quote

5. 'Recognise the importance of public services in addressing future challenges and promoting careers in public sector'

Education secretary quote

Your favourite answer:

Public Vote Results
Part of
Future skills


Toby Baker

Toby Baker

Toby Baker

Mission Manager, A Fairer Start

Toby worked with local governments to develop and pilot improvements to services that support young children and families.

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