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Work Smart – the demands on future work force

At a recent Queensland Curriculum Assessment and Authority conference for school principals, we were briefed about the planned change of senior schooling from the current Overall Position (OP) system to the Australian Tertiary Admission Ranking (ATAR). This will affect our current Year 9 and younger students. Furthermore, the new system emphasised the importance of developing the 21st century learning and work skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving, personal attributes and entrepreneurial skills. This future forecast echoed the report Thriving in the New Work Order 2017 published by The Foundation of Young Australians (FYA). The report stated that, due to the increasing rate of automation, globalisation and flexibility, by 2030 workers, i.e. our students will need to develop work smart skills. These include having an entrepreneurial mindset; possessing quick learning-to-learn skills as well as critical, communication and problem-solving skills and feeling comfortable using science, mathematics and technological concepts and skills.

It supported the need for the Australian education system need to change in order to equip young people with the skills and capabilities required the ‘new work smart’ era, just slightly more than a decade away! This demands that we develop both their cognitive and emotional skills to a much higher level in order for them to thrive regardless of the new demands of the workplace.

Trinity began the journey of research, teacher professional learning and the implementation of the new learning paradigm in 2015 when we launched our vision: “to be a globally connected and innovative learning community developing heart, head and hand for personal excellence”.

Our classroom refurbishments in the Junior Years in 2016 and the Middle Years’ in early 2018; supported by our newly developed K to Year 12 Teaching and Learning Framework which articulates our new pedagogical approach, will see our students engaged in the type of learning that will equip them with the dispositions and skills required by 21st century work and life. This week, I will be joined by a group of 25 students on the Ashmore Road campus to provide feedback and advice to the college architect in order to finalise the Senior Learning Precinct (SLP) design. They will be main users of this space and their feedback is important to ensure that the building meets their learning needs for now and into the future. This SLP is ear-marked to be built from the end of 2018 for use in early 2020. All these new learning spaces, coupled with our teaching approaches, aim to develop and prepare our student (future workers) for the changing landscapes of tertiary learning and future work demands. Our students will be adopting smart learning, smart thinking and smart doingas advocated by this report and QCAA. One article in the October 2017 issue of the Company Director (an Australian Institute of Company Directors publication) aptly stated that “we cannot continue to operate in the 21st economy utilizing a 20th century mindset”; and in education, we cannot produce 21st century smart workers with 19th or 20th century pedagogy and classroom practices.

References can be accessed via these website:

Head, B. (October 2017). The Robots are Coming: Artificial intelligence and digitalisation are transforming the business landscape.

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