Why are we doing this?
In the next century we will encounter rapid change in many of the conditions that underpin employment, shifting the dynamics of the labour market. Technological change and automation is much lauded as a fundamental driver of this change - some estimates suggests that 35 per cent of today’s jobs are at risk of computerisation within the next 20 years. But this is not the only trend that will sculpt the nature of labour markets in decades to come: drivers of change such as demographic shifts, political uncertainty and climate change are just as important.
A high number of children entering school this year, will end up working in jobs that are radically different from today - many of which may not even exist yet - challenging us to consider what educators and policymakers should do to prepare for this uncertain future.
To enable them to succeed in this future economy, we need to foster the right skills, abilities and knowledge - skills such as creativity that we know from our research will be more important in the future. Yet, since many of these skills are difficult to assess via standard examination, they are often marginalised and under-researched. At Nesta, we want to test new ways to teach skills, abilities and knowledge that are effective and scalable, to equip young people and adults so they are more resilient to future change.
What are we doing?
We are exploring technologies and trends through horizon scanning and have delivered extensive research on the future skills needs of society and the implications of many different trends such as globalisation and automation for the UK’s workforce:
- Creativity vs Robots - a report exploring the future of automation and creativity in the UK and US workforces. Findings showed creative jobs will be more resistant to automation than most other jobs.
- Solved! Making the Case of Collaborative Problem Solving - a report identifying the more resilient skills in the workplace and how they can support academic attainment.
- Fusion Effect - a Nesta commissioned report by the University of Sussex demonstrating the importance of a fusion of arts and science skills in UK companies and the impact of this combination on performance. Additionally, using information from the Scottish Qualifications Authority we have examined the uptake of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) combinations by students sitting Scottish Highers.
- A Closer look at Creatives - an interactive data visualisation using online job advertisements from Burning Glass to learn more about the skills required for creative jobs in the UK.
In collaboration with Pearson, Nesta undertook cutting edge research into employer demands for skills in the workforce in 2030.
Building on the Collaborative Problem Solving report, we are also launching a series of pilots with Raspberry Pi, Maths Circle and NRich to look at practical ways to support collaborative problem solving both in and outside the classroom.
We are committed to continue looking at ways to address potential skills shortages in the future and ensuring all learners are well-placed to handle the changes ahead.