Preparing Students for the Future

An Article by Marion Illich (Hubbard’s School Teacher)

The challenge for educators today is to prepare young people for jobs that constantly change.

Students will need more than core knowledge and skills. Now, more than ever, they will need to have the social capabilities of creativity, collaboration and the tools of innovation.

Almost every job will be disrupted. It won’t be about the job itself but what you are doing in that job, how you are applying new capabilities to that work.

It really will be a life of learning, adapting to the present and making the most of how we are different.

So what does this mean for Hubbard’s students?

“I have taken my inspiration from a new Australian fast bowler, a hi-tech steel fabricating factory just south of Brisbane, a software developer and an economist” says Hubbard’s teacher, Marion Illich.

1. Jyhe Richardson - The latest addition to Australia’s fast bowling ranks.
When Jyhe’s father was interviewed about his son’s selection he commented “It’s a great start. That’s the end of a long road and the start of a new one.” He pointed out that his son never got ahead of himself. When he was in the under 19’s he concentrated on being in the under 19’s. When he was in the State Shield team he concentrated on being in the Shield team and now that he was in the Australian team his focus was on his job in the Australian team. “Jyhe knows how to be in the present.”
When commentators compare him to other fast bowlers, they query his height. “You’re not short and you’re not tall,” they say.
Jyhe simply says, “I’m different.

2. Smart Steels Systems – A steel fabrication factory south of Brisbane.
Chris Brugeaud, CEO, talks about how their firm is different. He’s put ‘artificially intelligent’ welding and cutting equipment to work. He says he’s now able to bring back jobs onshore and reverse the trend of laying off people as technology improves.
Chris declares “What makes us different from the traditional fabricator is we have as many developers as we do welders.” The payroll now includes software, mechatronics and robotic engineers. The company’s welders and boilermakers have moved off the factory floor and into the office. If they wanted to keep their jobs with this firm, they had to be in the present and they had to do something different.

3. Andrew Mellett – Software Developer
Artificial Intelligence is coming, has come, to white collar jobs too. The trend is evident in legal and paralegal services. AI is taking over mundane jobs. However, Andrew Mellett, CEO of software developer Plexus, says that productivity increase has not come at the expense of legal jobs; he’s not firing, he’s hiring.
New career paths have been created and people are more engaged and excited to come to work each day, he ascertains. Employees are in the present. They are doing something different.

4. Andrew Charlton - The Economist
Andrew Charlton, director of consultants Alpha Beta, emphasizes that the nature of work is changing and that workers who are displaced by automation will need to be reskilled. People will have to change the way they work and not necessarily change jobs. On the job training will become much more important.
Andrew estimates that by 2040 Australian workers will receive 41% of their skills long after high school and university. He says this will be delivered by targeted, flexible, work based training and short courses rather than lengthy tertiary qualifications.

So what does all this mean for Hubbard’s students?
Students need to learn more than just knowledge. They will need to develop the skills and abilities to:
think critically,
be adaptable,
tap into their creativity, and
work in different ways.

Here at Hubbard’s we encourage our students not only to be present, but to “be in the present.” When it’s time for Carole’s Maths B class, that’s exactly what they have to be thinking about. When it’s time for David’s Ancient History class, that’s exactly what they have to be thinking about. It’s the now that counts. If we’ve got engaged students, we’ve got successful students.

We teach our students to be “in the present” and we assure them that “it’s OK to be different.”

At the end of the year it will be the end of a long road but it will just be the start of another one.

Background information for this blog was sourced from the following:
Rise of the Machines - ABC News 26 January 2019
Radio National Breakfast - 25 January 2019
The Sydney Morning Herald - The jobs facing the biggest changes to workloads. 25 January 2019
The West Australian - Family reflects on Jhye Richardson’s rise to Australian cricket’s elite. 26 January 2019

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