The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) is transforming the type of work people do and how it is done. This offers countless new opportunities for many and today’s youth and children cannot stand to be left behind.
In the next 10 years, today’s children will face new challenges in the workforce, which is already changing at an exponential pace, according to Deloitte’s global report titled “Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
Therefore, special focus needs to be given to children and youth to prepare them for what is to come. It is important to start exposing them to the enablers of IR4.0 such as robotics, Big Data Analytics (BDA) and the Internet of Things (IoT). This will ensure that they are equipped with the relevant knowledge and skillsets required by the industry in the near future.
The preparation can start by emphasizing workforce readiness among today’s youth which is foundational to an individual’s success in a workplace, ranging from initial job search to maintaining continuous employment.
Since the landscape of IR4.0 work environment seems to be complex, the best approach to preparing the children for the future is to firstly shape their thinking and secondly, provide a foundation to develop the relevant skillsets.
This approach will support them in finding and securing employment in the future. They will develop good qualities in the workforce such as professionalism, discipline and etiquette.
Soft skills include communication, critical thinking, collaboration and adaptability. These soft skills enable them to integrate and collaborate with internal and external workplace stakeholders (e.g. customers, co-workers and management).
Furthermore, today’s youth must be knowledgeable and have capabilities to perform specialized tasks – technical skills. Allowing them to explore and interact with current technologies will provide a strong foundation for them to develop their skills further in the near future.
Last but not least, it is pivotal to train them in entrepreneurship as IR4.0 could create new job opportunities in the future. They can maximize their potential in innovation and creativity to establish their own business while creating job opportunities for others.
Exposing the youth to the skillsets required in the IR4.0 workforce is an important agenda that needs to be driven by the government, industries and academia in ensuring today’s youths are future-proof. What is sown today will be reaped in the future.