European Vocational Skills Week

Preparing for the jobs of the future

Preparing for the jobs of the future

News | 4 October 2018

How do you prepare people to do jobs that don’t exist yet?

As modern technology advances more quickly than ever, you may wonder how training providers will be able to keep up.

But a recent report by the Open University in the Netherlands is helping us to visualise our future a little more clearly, by detailing some of the new roles they think will exist in a future workforce.

The good news for those in the field of vocational training is that most of the skills required by these future job roles are not completely new.

Softer skills – especially those related to project management, communication and people skills, and ethics – will transfer quite easily into the new landscape.

Other future roles set out by the Dutch researchers require skills from a combination of two current specialisms – for example IT technician and psychologist.

Even the vocational training required for the most “futuristic” of topics – robotics, the virtual world, or space travel, for example – would include many familiar skills and concepts.

The potential new roles include:

Telemedicine Technician: Telemedicine will increasingly be used both in developed and developing markets – for example adopting video links to help treat people in remote locations where there are no local medical staff. A new class of IT technicians with some medical training will emerge to help design and implement appropriate solutions.

End-of-Life Planner: A person who helps people plan and manage their own death – combating the fact that medicine/technology will be able to keep most people technically alive pretty much forever.

Business Consultant for Climate Change Compliance: The adaptation to climate change may be more important than stopping it. Hence, there will be massive growth in consultants that can advise firms of all sizes on how best to do it.

Psycho-Customizer: Future generations of mobile phones could offer a range of applications to help monitor and manage stress levels and counsel us on key decisions. A new set of roles will emerge for those who design and programme in a range of psychological support features. Tomorrow's retail assistant could perform behavioural assessments to help customise our devices to match our personality type.

Chief Networking Officer: As businesses become more global and increasingly tap into a range of electronic networks, senior roles are emerging to oversee the commercial, technical, legal and security implications of integration into an ever-expanding universe of networks. Another version of the role would be to maximise the firm‘s presence in and use of key physical and social networks.

Robot Counsellors: As robots develop the capacity to learn, they could acquire their own neuroses or pick up those of their owners/programmers. A new role combining robotic technician and psychotherapy skills could emerge.

Alternative Vehicle Developers: Designers and builders of the next generations of vehicle transport using alternative materials and fuels. Could the dream of truly eco-friendly transport and cars that travel underwater or fly become a reality within the next two decades?

Social 'Networking' Worker: Social workers for those in some way traumatised or marginalised by social networking.

For vocational training providers, a little preparation could go a long way to ensuring that the skills gap does not become too wide… even when we are all living with robots or flying into space!

Read the full report here (in Dutch with some information in English).