Dr Peter Ellyard
Dr Peter Ellyard futurist, strategist and a leading international speaker.
"The secret to a successful life is to understand what is one’s destiny to do, and to do it." Henry Ford
Dr Ellyard spends a great deal of time working with young people on their career options for the future. When they ask what they should study in their tertiary education he tells them to follow their heart and study what interests them, not what they think will generate a job. It is more important to be a committed lifelong, learner-driven learner than to know particular facts relating to one kind of work or another.
It is also pointless to prepare oneself for one of the current crop of job categories unless one expects to be fulfilled by doing this. To study for a job because the job seems to provide economic security or status, but without passion for the work entailed by that job, will create considerable misery and will also undermine the habits needed for lifelong learner-driven learning which is so critical for thriving in the long term. In the early 21st century the workplace is changing more rapidly than ever before. The pace of technological and social change means that work skills are being made redundant at a faster rate. From Dr Ellyard’s observations and discussions with colleagues, it seems that up to 50 per cent of the skills required in the newer, knowledge based industries become redundant every three to five years. If one looks at the rates of globalization and technological change and the development of tribalisation, which will lead to an increase in cultural customisation of products and services, it seems reasonable to deduce that in the next twenty-five years up to 70 per cent of all job categories are likely to change. Of this percentage, half of the existing job categories will disappear; the other half will consist of new jobs that do not yet exist. Other jobs will keep their present names but the nature of the work will change.
Technological change is one of the major reasons why workplace learning must be broadened from its traditional narrow base to the world of multiskilling. To maintain a robot, for example, it is necessary to know about mechanics, pneumatics, hydraulics, electronics and software engineering. All of these were individual disciplines and were the responsibility of individual workers, sometimes belonging to different trade unions. New technology is causing the traditional demarcations between skill areas to disappear, and the need to avoid technology-created demarcation disputes is one of the major reasons for the development of ‘super’ trade unions in the 1990s. The domains of electronic technologies and bio-technologies are also coalescing, as are the domains of the natural sciences, technologies and social sciences. Where these various domains overlap hybridization is occurring between them, and these areas of hybridization are now producing the greatest rates of innovation. Multimedia and learning technologies generally are a good example of this. In a world where cultural differences are often being celebrated, it is also likely that technologies will undergo greater degrees of cultural customisation: increasingly the domains of culture and technology are also overlapping.
Work-place learning will also be increasingly linked to career-path planning together with credentialling of work-place learning. Until now it has been appropriate to ask people about their current work. In the next decade it will be as relevant to ask people about what they are learning to become as to ask what job they do at present: ‘becoming’ will become as important as ‘being’. With this comes the introduction of increased work-place based learning and career-path planning. Ford pointed out in his letter that the next important component of all work-place learning would be the professionalisation of all employees. If a work place wants to thrive in the twenty-first century up to 20 per cent of all its resources should be devoted to learning, both individual and collective. The most successful businesses will be those that maximise organisational and individual learning, and good employees will be attracted to work places which offer this. Any work-place learning will need to incorporate the elements of the learning culture, including learner-driven, just-in-time and customised learning. Modern technology can deliver this to people in the work place.
Integrated enterprise learning assisted by personal development planning, with their links to adaptability, innovation and productivity, will become major components of successful work places in the early twenty-first century. These should be complemented by learner-driven, just-in-time learning aided by modern technology.
Dr Peter Ellyard’s list of the skills and capabilities which he believes young person will need to thrive in the years beyond 2020, to achieve wellbeing in this society includes:
- Developing a successful career path with an emphasis on job making rather than on job taking. This involves utilizing insight to determine one’s destiny, what is one’s aptitude and passion; foresight to understand emerging trends, opportunities and possibilities and being able to strategically position oneself in a 21st century industrial structure ; and hindsight to learn from one’s experiences, so as to inform one’s career and personal development.
- Being an enterprising innovative person, constantly seeking to do old things better and new things first. This requires a major focus on life/enterprise skills, and in continuously developing one’s own creativity and enterprise, and respecting it in others.
In many rural communities the ecological prosperity can be a major source of wealth generation. In economically poor urban communities, cultural prosperity can be used to create economic prosperity.
- Economic prosperity involves the promotion of emerging 21st century industries. Seventy percent of the industries, products and services of the year 2025 have yet to be invented. Almost all the new industries born in the 20th century were born in cities, and there they stay. New forms of connectivity means that we can now locate many emerging 21st century industries in rural communities. It also involves increasing the collective bargaining power which rural communities have with the external world.
Most young people in rural communities and in disadvantaged urban communities who are motivated and knowledge seeking will leave these communities as soon as they can, never to return.
However the education system can and should play a major role in enduring that the capabilities of young people in rural communities are of the kind needed to enable them to stay in rural communities and lead these communities into a knowledge rich sustainably prosperous future . If this does not happen rural communities will decline even more and many will die all together. If we are to create sustainable prosperity in rural communities we must engender a population of innovators in these communities: people who are both creative and enterprising.
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