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Prepared for the New World of Work

While virtually every child is asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?”, only a very small percentage of adults end up in the careers they wanted when they were younger.

The way we work is increasingly being affected by three global economic forces: automation, globalisation and collaboration. As a result, there has been much talk about the future of work, specifically which jobs will disappear and which will remain. While that is important, the more urgent need is to shift mindsets from jobs to skills to prepare young people for a new world of work.

New insights are emerging into the skills young people will require to navigate complex and uncertain working lives. These are known as transferrable enterprise skills and are common to a large range of jobs. Some of these skills include: communications skills, writing, training others, digital literacy, time management, problem solving, research, creativity, team work, planning and project management.

Jobs are more related than we might first think. Not all jobs require the acquisition of an entirely new skill set, instead, the skill sets of many jobs are portable to other jobs. Employers demand very similar skills for many different jobs. In fact, on average, when a person trains or works in 1 job, they acquire skills for 13 other jobs. This reality has implications for career education. It means we need to encourage young people to develop a portfolio of skills that opens doors to a group or ‘cluster’ of jobs.

This diagram shows the skills that an Environmental Research Scientist would have and how the skills from this job would be portable to 13 other jobs.

What are the new clusters of work?

The Foundation for Young Australians New Work Order Report identifies 7 new job clusters in Australia:
• The Generators
• The Coordinators
• The Informers
• The Carers
• The Technologists
• The Designers
• The Artisans

The skills and typical jobs associated with each of these clusters include:

By focussing on the skills required for a ‘cluster’ of jobs young people stop focusing on choosing a single job, and instead prepare themselves for the more long-term question of which cluster of work they want to build a career within. This prepares young people for a future of work that is more challenging and complex than in the past.

CASE STUDY – Zach’s Story of Portability

Zach is a 23 year old who has worked as a labourer for 4 years. His is looking for a change and is considering a move within his current job cluster ‘The Artisans’. He wants to use many of the skills he has already acquired as a labourer and looks to becoming a ‘construction estimator’. A construction estimator quantifies the materials, labour and equipment required to complete a building project.

Zach has already acquired many of the enterprise skills required for this change. From his labouring job he already has communications skills, organisation skills, team work, time management and detail-orientation. Many of Zach’s technical skills will also be portable. However, he has a few technical and subject matter gaps: namely estimating, cost estimating and computing skills. Zach decides to undertake a short course at TAFE on Building and Construction (Estimating). He gets credit for a number of the subjects where he has strong existing knowledge. Zach now works in building scheduling and estimating.

ATC Seniors are already preparing for the challenges of the future world of work by reflecting on pathways that best match their interests and strengths; and by testing their fit within an industry field by gaining critical early-career work experience.

The future of career education at ATC will be to encourage our young people to build a portfolio of skills that gives them a wide range of options for their future.

Mrs Michelle Kath
Head of Senior Pathways & Careers

Reference: Foundation for Young Australians New Work Order, 2017