Head of Education and Innovation Policy, Ibec
The world is experiencing disruption at such a fast pace. It is becoming much harder to predict, with certainty, what the workplace and jobs of the future will be.
Major innovations — such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and smart communication technology — have had a major impact on how we live, work and engage with each other. This is exciting for new graduates but also shows how constant change is.
Being adaptable to change
We need to be able to adapt and become more comfortable with change. With careers now lasting close to 50 years, we will all probably make multiple career changes and transitions, requiring new skills, new expertise and developing new social networks at every turn.
The value of university graduates to business remains clear. University and college graduates are the workforce of the future and bring with them the new skills that many established organisations need to thrive in this new world of work. Provided they are equipped with the right attitudes, skills and knowledge, there are excellent career prospects for graduates.
Skills required to thrive
For business, and other important employers across social enterprise and the public sector, graduate talent is essential to bring new skills, new concepts and innovative approaches to the organisation. Looking to the future, employers will be seeking graduates with high digital capacity with high degrees of competence in digital skills and literacy. In addition, knowledge and skills relating to climate change and sustainability will be key for graduates and businesses alike, as they become key actors in the implementation of the national Climate Action Plan and in supporting businesses to decarbonise their supply chains.
Transversal skills — relating to critical and analytical thinking, creativity, teamwork, language and communications skills, innovation and entrepreneurship — will be central to supporting the graduates to connect seamlessly into the world of work and thrive in a time of rapid change.
Employers will be seeking graduates with high digital capacity with high degrees of competence in digital skills and literacy.
Partnerships fostering innovation
If the Irish higher and further education system is to produce a steady supply of graduates, postgraduates and apprentices equipped to fill the high-skill roles of the future, businesses need to be closely engaged.
Partnerships between universities, colleges and businesses are already well-established in many fields, and they are essential for an economy founded on skills and innovation. Talented people, the availability of key skills and the ability to collaborate easily with universities and colleges are real positive features of Ireland’s competitive offering.