8 ways to support social mobility in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The BIG Alliance is a small charity which supports business volunteering and social impact programmes. We run social mobility programmes with local schools in north London and across east London with our umbrella charity, ELBA (East London Business Alliance).

We will be working with our business members and through our education and skills programmes to focus on preparing local residents for the future world of work.

Jermain Jackman, former Chair of the Islington Fair Futures Commission, opened our recent panel debate on future-proofing skills for employment, with a rallying call to business, schools and the wider community, to assemble, to ensure young people had life skills and soft skills to succeed in the future economy. He called us Avengers.

For those of you without children, or a fascination with sci-fi – Avengers are superheroes. And how apt given the subject matter of our event was the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Our working world is changing beyond comprehension. 30 per cent of current jobs are expected to be automated by the mid-2030s. Many other jobs will evolve with the advent of automation and AI. An estimated 58 million new jobs will be created (net), and to give you a sense of the scale and pace of change it is estimated that 65% of current primary school children will hold a job that does not yet exist.

The skills required for this emerging economy are changing, with many jobs requiring ‘softer skills’ such as empathy, creativity and social intelligence. While arguably this new reality should make working ‘more human’ and rewarding there are significant challenges for our education and business sectors in re-gearing the way we prepare young people for the world of work and support older residents to transition jobs.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution also risks putting our vulnerable populations at a double disadvantage in the future, due to a lack of awareness of these changes, and the opportunity or means to adapt to this emerging economy. How do we ensure that this does not negatively impact social mobility?

Our recent event discussed how businesses could work with the local community to prevent this double disadvantage and support social mobility by preparing local residents for the future world of work.

A stellar line-up of speakers, including Jess Hyde - Accenture, Emma Sutherland - Nesta, Tim Mulvil - Macquarie, Jo Dibb - local Executive Head Teacher and Jermain Jackman, with input from the audience, identified the following eight ways the Avengers could assemble to support local residents prepare for the future world of work:

  1. Create more meaningful work experience for young people
  2. More business mentoring of local residents
  3. A strong focus on ‘soft skill’ development such as creativity, problem-solving and communication skills
  4. Help people understand their soft skill strengths – are they a builder, a creative or a negotiator?
  5. Create a mindset for continuous learning
  6. Support parents, teachers and students alike to navigate the future world of work
  7. Real models are just as important as role models
  8. Children should be engaged earlier, when in junior school

For more information visit our website or find The BIG Alliance on LinkedIn and Twitter @thebigalliance. To hear how you can get involved please contact Rebecca Lynch, Director, BIG Alliance on 07572 602 944 or via Rebecca.lynch@thebigalliance.org.uk

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