How to Prepare Young People For Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet
Those who went to college in the 1980s and 1990s and majored in fields such as education and the social sciences may never even have considered working in fields like engineering and computer science. Their children, however, have grown up in a world that is so technologically advanced that it changes every day. The skill sets that may be required for future employment may not even exist at this time, and today’s parents may be unsure how to best prepare their children for the future workplace and jobs that are only concepts in 2014.
Experts believe that encouraging innovation may be a key factor of preparing today’s youth for future employment. In addition, developing collaboration skills and ensuring that a child is prepared to work in a multi-lingual, global society may give them an upper hand in future endeavors.
Start Them Off Early
These skill sets can be developed early, beginning even before a child can walk. Whereas their parents may have never even touched a computer until their teens or even adulthood, a child born in the digital age will likely know how to use a touch screen, play their favorite games and draw pictures on the screen before their first birthday.
Since that is the norm, however, future employees will need to develop more specific skill sets in order to stand out in a sea of job seekers with basic computer skills. A May 2014 report from Robotics Trends claims that technologically advanced toys could be a key factor in a very young child’s personal development, laying the groundwork for a path to adulthood success.
Innovative toymakers have developed robotic toys that teach children ages 3-8 the basics of programming, architecture, and engineering.
The Evolution of Educational Trends
According to a 2014 NPR report regarding trends in bachelor degree majors, in 1970, business majors accounted for 14.4 percent of total number of degrees awarded. By 2010, that number had increased to nearly 21 percent. The trend makes sense considering the number of start-ups and new companies that pop up every day.
Education degrees followed an opposite trend, with percentages dropping from 22.54 percent to 6.17, the most significant drop noted in the report. Many other concentrations of study remained relatively steady during that 40 year span, even computer science, which increased only 2.2 percent.
Another field that is seeing a steady upward trend is engineering, which is broken down into sub-disciplines that include mechanical, which accounts for the majority of engineering degrees awarded, as well as civil, electrical, chemical, and environmental.
Enrollment in full-time engineering bachelor’s degree programs has increased 25 percent since 2008, and the trend is expected to continue. Innovation and collaborative skills are important for students entering an engineering field.
Developing Critical Language Skills
The simple fact is that a child who reaches adulthood and is fluent in a single language is not as employable as a child who is bilingual or speaks several languages. In addition, according to the New York Times, that growing up bilingual increases cognitive skills and may improve the brain’s executive function.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 38 million people in the U.S. spoke Spanish in 2013, ranking the number 5, and it is estimated that the U.S. will have the world’s largest population of Spanish-speaking residents by 2050. These numbers illustrate how essential it is for a child to learn a second, or even a third, language in order to compete in future job markets and collaborate with a larger number of colleagues.
Parents who wish to prepare their children to be tomorrow’s innovators should begin the process at an early age. By encouraging children to learn a second language and offering game choices that are more than benign entertainment, children of the digital age will have a leg up when it’s time to choose a career.