Better Me 2020: the life & career skills young minds want to learn

If we want to go from a handful of Future of Work reports to a Future that actually works for us (wordplay stolen from the OECD 2019 employment outlook report), we need to make sure we are really shifting paradigms across all fields, sectors, target audiences and approaches. It’s not a magic spell that will reinvent policies worldwide on a fortnight. It’s an incremental change but it needs to happen fast. One of the chief players and targets of that shift in paradigms are those who will be working in that imminent — and almost present — Future, i.e.: the youth of today.

The skills that make the Future

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report from 2018 underlines that by 2022, 54% of all employees will be needing some reskilling or upskilling. More than half of professionals do not have the right skillset to seamlessly explore the change that is taking place around us.

Proficiency in technology is only one part of the 2022 skill equation, however, as ‘human’ skills such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation will likewise retain or increase their value, as will attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving.”

World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018

In 2022, the skills that will be trending, in addition to the above mentioned, are related to ideation and innovation, leadership, social influence and initiative, emotional intelligence as well as active learning and learning strategies among others.

The declining skills pertain to manual dexterity, endurance and precision; memory, verbal, auditory and spatial abilities; management of financial, material resources; technology installation and maintenance; time management; reading, writing, math and active listening among others.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t need to learn how to read, write and do math or how to manage our time, but this alone is not enough. We need to do more and learn more to adapt to the demands of the Forth Industrial Revolution.

Taking Action

2022 is in two years’ time. And we need every possible effort exercised by a variety of stakeholders at all levels, from local to global and public to private, to contribute to the shift in paradigms.

So the team at PersEd, the training, coaching and consultancy enterprise I founded, decided to take action and the Better Me 2020 project was born. Its purpose is to offer a highly accessible opportunity to hone life and career skills while making learning an enjoyable experience that anchors itself as a constant or habit, and adapts to personal goals, needs and wants.

What happened?

In January 2020, we compiled a list of desired skills and abilities that are relevant to the students and young professionals and that speak to them. And we asked them to tell us what they want to learn and what they feel they need to master.

Far too often, these young people are told what to do and what to learn and when and how. If learning needs to become the daily bread of the 21st century human, it has to be desired — otherwise it will be called Forced Learning, much like Forced Labor. And “Forced Learning” is not what will make the lifelong educational experience more enticing and more anchored in habits and behaviors.

Listening to the youth

We reached out to 12 ambassadors from 7 countries spread across 4 continents, sharing questions on social media and gathering data from all over the world.

Within 2 weeks, we have received an overwhelming 16,788 interactions, and then processed the data, taking into account both what young people feel they need and what they want to learn.

We ended up with 5 topics (in no specific order):

What will happen next?

As of now and until the end of the year 2020, we will explore each topic through the lens of related skills, based on reports, studies and research in the field. Each topic will become the main theme of an online test that young people can take to understand what specific areas need some upskilling. Their result will customize a road-map for them that will allow them to take easy but efficient and practical steps every day, over the course of 1–2 months, to hone their skillset and continuously improve throughout the year.

If you want to be the first to receive the news when we launch the next online learning experience, visit us here.

Special Thanks

This work would have been impossible without the dedicated efforts of the Team and Ambassadors who made this happen: Lucy Tabakian who is coordinating this project, as well as Alice Kanji, Carine Tashjian, Elika Chalhoub, Goto Cooper, Ingrid Ghanem, Jackline Ciku, Kosta Stojkovic, Mirage Joueid Quraan, Perla Kattar, Priscilla Kini, Reynaldo Garcia & a 12th person who wish to remain anonymous.

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