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How to prepare your students for careers that don’t exist yet

As technology evolves, so does the landscape of careers. In this article, we’ll discuss ways to ready your students for careers that don’t exist yet.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Just about everyone hears the question at least once as a child.

However, that question is far more difficult to answer today. It seems as if the world is changing at such a rapid pace due to technology, demand, and other factors—so much so that the careers today’s students may pursue might not even exist yet.

Preparing for the future: soft skills will be necessary

The skills of the future are coming into focus. A buzzword in education and other circles is soft skills, which many believe are essential for the careers of the future.

What exactly are soft skills? Indeed defines soft skills as “… any skill that can be classified as a personality trait or habit. Interpersonal skills and communication skills are more specific categories of soft skills that many employers look for in job candidates.” Other examples of soft skills include resilience, problem-solving, and creativity.

One soft skill everyone seems to agree students need moving forward is resilience. With the pace of change showing no signs of slowing down, this seems like a no-brainer.

How can educators help students become more adaptable? Some believe adaptability starts with communication.

Present students with open-ended questions to give them the opportunity to formulate and express their opinions, to practice critical thinking, and to be flexible and adaptable in their thinking. Students will need to find common ground in their future workplaces, so encouraging them to practice this skill in the classroom will ensure they are better prepared.

Effective communication is a key skill that students will need to succeed in the future workforce. Communicating effectively regardless of whether it is in-person or virtual is a skill, and today’s students will need to be able to work collaboratively with people all over the world.

This could include a greater emphasis on foreign languages; students who are bilingual or even multilingual will have a leg up on future jobs.

Focus on instilling the soft skills of curiosity, resilience, and a growth mindset too. Ask students what problems they want to solve when they grow up, and what they most enjoy doing. This helps them build curiosity about the world and prepare for their future in it.

Empower educators

We all have memories of that teacher who was genuinely interested in the subject that they taught. These teachers delivered lessons with passion and, as a consequence, these were often the subjects in which we achieved the best results–so why should careers education be any different?

Empower educators to share their own work journey and experiences.

For those new to teaching, this may feel uncomfortable at first, something they are not used to doing. Whereas, the work journey of more established teachers may now be very different from the past and possibly not feel as relevant.

That’s not the case. Share experiences regardless—they are heartfelt and real and can have a very positive impact, inspiring students to explore and prepare for their futures in the world of work.

Does edtech have a role to play?

While effective and inspiring educators are needed to prepare students for future jobs, there’s also a role for technology. The traditional methods, such as textbooks and worksheets, could hamstring teachers.

There are many helpful edtech systems available, but it’s hard to get to them if schools insist on the old formats.

An online, future-readiness program like Xello teaches students critical real-world skills and the soft skills needed for future jobs. The program features integrated lessons that help students build essential soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork.

AI and automation are impacting the world in countless ways and will continue to do so. As students move into this new world, they will need to find careers that support the new economy. While the exact technical skills needed are not written in stone, soft skills will prove helpful for all future jobs. Educators can feel confident that they are able to prepare their students to move forward and utilise online programs to support them in an ever-changing environment.