Building a bold'vision for the future of Skills'at BETT 2022
The future of Skills is now
The future of jobs and skills is one of the most pressing topics we face in education right now. A child entering formal education this September will be making decisions about a career they will start in 2031 - and forging a living in a world we would barely recognise today.
As educators, we already understand better than many that we must do everything we can to ensure everyone is given a chance in life, an opportunity to fulfil their potential as an individual, regardless of their background.
Automation, changing demographics, urbanisation, globalisation, inequality, political uncertainty, and climate change are all changing the face of work and Skills radically. Urbanisation and globalisation are trends that are interacting with, and component parts of, climate change, all of which are driving the green sector.
Currently, the green economy is creating new jobs faster than jobs are disappearing in the polluting sectors. But in the face of increasing inequality, the high consumer cost of green energy could slow demand and job growth. In addition, investments in green technologies are deeply intertwined with government policy, making prospects even more uncertain.
The impact of COVID
COVID has also accelerated the rate of change around us, impacting technology, industries, careers, learning and lifestyles. The media highlights weekly the pressing issue of skill shortages and lack of suitable candidates across many sectors in an evolving post-COVID-19 working world. The role of education and learning will be vital as we continue to respond to the aftermath of this once-in-a-generation global health emergency at an individual, community, and wider economic level.
In Early Years, schools are addressing the Skills challenge by welcoming more employers of all sizes and industries, through their doors. FE and career-focused education has always responded with a talent and skills strategy to support the evolving needs of employers, but we will need to be as nimble as ever to serve new emerging industries. BTECs, as an example, are over 30 years old, having flexed and adapted to changing times over three decades.
Choice, choice, and more choice
At Pearson BTEC we believe vocational and technical skills will be crucial in supporting our economy in the post COVID period - supporting both young people and adults with the learning and skills they need to enter new and evolving industries and careers.
We also passionately believe there needs to be a choice of qualifications and courses available which supply the skills that are required by employers. In the UK we already have this with effective pathways such as A levels, Technical and Vocational (including Pearson’s BTECs) and work-based provision, including Apprenticeships. The introduction of T Levels will add another level of occupational choice for 16-18-year-olds.
Multiple pathways offer choice to people of all ages to be prepared and supported for life and careers in a rapidly changing world. Currently 40% of young people post 16 choose the academic route offered by A levels, progressing to higher education. The remaining 60% choose a vocational or work-based pathway.
Skills for emerging industries
We need to maintain the choice for the 60%, and many adults, between the early specialisation that T levels offer (training for a specific job aged 16-18), and a broader career-focused option of vocational qualifications such as BTECs provides - up-to-date industry knowledge, skills, and behaviours which open doors to a range of careers as well as access higher education and most importantly equips them with Skills that are transferable in a changing world.
This year for example, Pearson BTEC launched a new BTEC in Esports, a major step forward in supporting careers in the growing esports industry, projected to generate revenues of over £1 billion this year. New qualifications are also being developed in retail, education, renewables, Agri-Tech and infrastructure to name but a few.
Creating the future of Skills at BETT 2022
The world is changing at an unimagined pace and mapping how these trends interact to impact the future of Skills is complex. As a community, educators need to come together to talk about the future of Skills and careers to ensure the next generation are prepared for the world of work in a future ‘not yet imagined.’
That is why Pearson BTEC is delighted to be the Skills Sponsor for BETT 2022. After the disruption of the pandemic, our hope is this year’s event will be an opportunity for the education community to come together under the overarching theme of ‘creating the future 'to have passionate conversations about the future of Skills and jobs.
We look forward to hosting exciting sessions and will be presenting inspirational speakers and facilitating debate to seek consensus under a broad banner of choice, equality, and innovation. We cannot wait to meet you there!