Work is moving from the motorway to a roller coaster

This was one of a number of strange-sounding statements I heard at Mobile Week Barcelona, an event run parallel to the Mobile World Congress. I was at a series of talks about the world of work and about a future that feels more and more present: that of robotization, digitization and artificial intelligence. How do we prepare younger generations for all this?

When experts talk about the future of work, one of the things that gets discussed about most is ways to encourage a more humane understanding of the world of work. The Mobile World Congress brings a whirlwind of activity to Barcelona – even days before it begins – and we were at Mobile Week Barcelona, an event organized for this run-up period, where there were some very interesting discussions on this subject.

How do we prepare younger generations for entry into such a changeable job market? In one of the talks I was at Marc Vidal – an expert in Digital Transformation – offered two pieces of advice going into the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution:

  1. Buy nothing, because we’re already moving into the era of products converted into services.
  2. Enter the world of work replacing the verb work with learn.

At a different discussion Joan Clotet – Talent Innovation Manager at Ferrovial – stated that “we shouldn’t be looking to take work away from robots”. Overall, the emphasis was on the importance that certain human tasks will continue to have in new work environments where machines may be doing tasks that require less human factor. Creativity, autonomy, decision-making, summarizing and imagination – to name just a few – are areas that by and large will continue to be part of the human domain. Along the same lines, the position held by Jordi Serrano – founding partner of the Future For Work Institute and member of the Skill Up project’s international advisory committee – was that “people need to be concentrating on jobs that provide added-value”, pointing out that at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) they now make some humanities courses compulsory. Serrano also drew attention to the three major future issues dominating the climate change our society is witnessing:

–          Globalization, also involving the delocalization of information.

–          Robotization.

–          Sharing economy platforms.

It is upon these premises that we must work out how to prepare younger generations, thinking about the competencies that will enable them to deal with the rapidly shifting environment they will be living in. This is why Erasmus+ projects such as Skill Up are trying to help young people develop key competencies that will enable them to change and adapt to the roller coaster the world of work has become. Enjoy the ride!

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This project is coordinated by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC)
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This project has received funding from the European Union's Erasmus + Programme under No 2016-1-ES01-KA203-025432 grant agreement.
Neither the European Commission nor the project's national funding agency SEPIE are responsible for the content or liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.
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