Strategy & LeadershipDeveloping the work skills of the future

Developing the work skills of the future

Our workplaces are continuously evolving, as technology and digitalisation transform how and where we work. The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently estimated that 65% of young people today will ultimately work in careers that don't even exist today. For all of us working in HR, this poses a big challenge; how do we adapt our practices to ensure we maintain a pipeline of qualified talent?

As the world of work evolves, so too will the critical skills that employees will require to be successful. According to the WEF, some of the world’s leading companies anticipate that the most important work-related skill in 2020 will be analytical thinking and innovation. Other key skills include critical thinking, complex problem solving, creativity, leadership and social influence and emotional intelligence. If future talent is going to prosper in the evolving workplace, they must ensure that they develop and hone these skill sets.

Policy-makers, educators, parents, researchers, technology developers, investors and NGOs and businesses all have a role to play in ensuring the next generation are better equipped to be successful in this ever-changing work environment.

At BP, we have always invested in developing young people’s skills sets. In the UK we have multiple programmes that seek to empower young people with career skills and this year we have launched our latest initiative, the Skills Refinery.

We have developed the Skills Refinery specifically to address the challenges that young people will face as they enter the world of work from academia. It is a new global online portal, which aims to improve students’ employability and help them prepare for the jobs of the future – across the globe, for any industry or sector.

The platform provides students with the opportunity to test and develop their abilities in five skills areas – critical problem solving, innovation, influence and communication, cognitive flexibility and emotional intelligence, by completing specific tasks using behavioural-science based training content. It has been developed using the latest digital technologies to create an online gamification portal, where students will find resources that will help them to enhance these essential professional skills.

Students join an online platform to be upskilled, by completing tasks an unlocking new skills and challenges across a six-month period. The initiative culminates in a global, team-based video challenge, with an all-expenses paid trip to next year’s One Young World Summit for the overall global winners.

We launched the Skills Refinery in September 2018 in Australia, Azerbaijan, Singapore, the UK and the US, with plans to roll out globally in 2019. We have developed the initiative so that in 2019 it can be truly taken to a global level, allowing us to have a real impact around the world.

Interestingly, since launching the Skills Refinery, uptake across the five regions has been strong, with participants from over 90 universities enrolling in the programme. We are also hearing from students on campus that they feel it is critical that they address and develop these skills sets in a meaningful and tangible way. They are keen to be able to demonstrate that they have taken specific action to enhance and augment the skills they have developed in academia.

Initiatives such as the Skills Refinery will not in isolation bridge the skills gap, but they can form a part of the solution. Our hope is that by providing tomorrow’s generation with guidance in these skills areas, they can make meaningful progress in preparing for their future careers.

By Vicki Hyland, Global Head of Talent Attraction at BP

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