Enabling Upskilling at Scale
Small and medium-sized enterprises are struggling to provide the skills development opportunities their employees are looking for. A lifelong learning system with on-ramps and off-ramps throughout an individual’s life is essential to enable upskilling at scale. Employers need to invest in ongoing skills development, providing financial support and time off. Education and training providers need to offer options that serve the needs of working learners. And governments need to play a convening role to bring stakeholders together around a unified vision.
The challenges of 2020 have only accelerated trends that were already reshaping the landscape of skills and work. Working individuals are changing jobs or vocations more frequently in their careers, by choice and out of necessity, due to technological advances. Employability is determined less by general credential attainment and more by the ability to demonstrate the necessary skills for a job. The future demands a “Learning-Integrated Life”—in which individuals are always in a learning mindset, and intensive and episodic opportunities for learning are woven through the fabric of our lives, and prepared for successful careers and rich life experiences.
Systems of learning need to adapt to a new normal of global life. Alarm bells have been ringing for the last decade about the future of work and the changing skills demands brought on by technology and automation. The response to date has been a patchwork, tinkering and experimenting with solutions while the demand for new skills moved at breakneck speed. The rapid onset of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has only accelerated the pace of change. Communities, regions, and countries need to make strategic investments in redesigning today’s learning systems into systems of lifelong learning that will best position them and their workforce in a globally competitive environment. This skills brief offers recommendations on how to properly enable lifelong learning systems.
The Future of
The “future” of work and learning is not looming in the distance, but a reality of the here and now. Lifelong learning is increasingly seen as the solution to the challenges presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including the rapid shifts in skills needed of the workforce and rise of automation. In practical terms however, lifelong learning as a concept is not well understood, nor is it obvious what an effective system of lifelong learning would actually look like at a national or international scale. This whitepaper shows it requires a multi-sided answer – from creating the learning opportunities to solving for access, cost, responsibility, and individual motivation. It requires a Learning-Integrated Life.
The Future of Skills
in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Human history is filled with examples of occupational transformation, but the rate at which it is occurring today in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is unprecedented. The half-life of technical skills in some job categories are now well under 5 years. Employers’ views on the value of skills in their workforce has shifted in this new reality as they need workers who can continually reskill over their entire career span. Our systems of learning need to adapt to address the rising demand for soft skills by employers and lifelong learning opportunities by employees.