Technology has enabled collaboration to go across physical boundaries, and signposts thrilling times ahead. This entails people from across various backgrounds working together, and we need to get our youth ready for this. Working like this would require learning how to form alliances and lead through influence.


The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. – Sir William Henry Bragg

The world is dynamic.

The industrial roster is constantly evolving, with the old ones becoming out-of-date. The World Economic Forum declared that close to 65 per cent of the jobs that school children will be involved in the future don’t exist yet. The workforce and knowledge base are rapidly changing. Merged with the consequences of automation in the workforce, we are left with the critical question: What skills will be needed by future generations? I often get asked this question a lot when speaking at conferences or holding training workshops.

After much research and brainstorming with professionals from across the globe, here is a list of these skills. Let’s help our youth with this information.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

All along while we have been prepping students to answer questions, we have actually neglected to teach them how to ask good questions. The ability to ask good questions is the building block of critical thinking. In order to solve a problem, analysis must be undertaken to find its root cause. As can be seen, problem-solving and critical thinking go hand-in-hand. Today’s workers are structured otherwise than previously. Various people are assembled together in a team with various skills. This leads to innovation; being able to stir things up leads to new ideas and creations.

Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence

Workers today have flexible schedules, as some are onsite and offsite. In the next five years, there will be more flexible workers – up to 40 per cent of the total workforce. This has led to more collaboration across various locations.

Technology has enabled collaboration to go across physical boundaries, and signposts thrilling times ahead. This entails people from across various backgrounds working together, and we need to get our youth ready for this. Working like this would require learning how to form alliances and lead through influence.

Resourcefulness is a trait that has been neglected to be taught to students, in addition to their academic work. For most, it had been relegated to extra-curricular activities. The focus has been on tests and acquiring knowledge, not inspiring or motivating doers.


Adaptability and Agility

Living in the volatile, unclear, multifaceted and uncertain world, it is vital that one learns to adapt and tweak one’s strategy. The current school system is designed for sameness; fixed routines and procedures. Assignments are to be carried out over and over repeatedly. Perpetual learning is the way to go as things are constantly getting switched around. Technology has disrupted life as we know it and this means our youth have to be agile and adaptive.

Entrepreneurship and Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is a trait that has been neglected to be taught to students, in addition to their academic work. For most, it had been relegated to extra-curricular activities. The focus has been on tests and acquiring knowledge, not inspiring or motivating doers. Empowering students to take on challenges in their communities would make them highly sought after by recruiters and business leaders.

Great Communication Skills

A recent report by an international skills think-tank depicted a lack in communication skills among recent graduates. They showed that 89 per cent of employees were found to be lacking in communication skills. Good communication goes beyond the use of language correctly with good grammar to boot; it involves being articulate and able to argue persuasively.

Discovery and Imagination

Discovery leads to acquiring new knowledge and innovation. It means having a child-like sense of reverence and wonder about the world, even to the point of imagining a better world. Being able to envision breakthroughs and then implement them. We should be empowering our youth with the ability to seek out answers for themselves

Altering the State of Education

The gap between these needed skills for the future and what is being propagated in education today is wide. We must go beyond preparing students to work and prepare them for life; raising up more innovators and leaders who would transform life as we know it.

This should be our rallying cry.

Adetola Salau, Carismalife4U@gmail.com, an advocate of STEM education, public speaker, author, and social entrepreneur, is passionate about education reform.