The ̶F̶u̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶ Present Work
Uncle: How are you?
Uncle: You have grown up?
Child :(Nodding and smiling at the same time.)
Uncle: Which class are you in?
Uncle: Which number were you?
Uncle: Excellent. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Child: An engineer.
Uncle: Good girl..
That and in some instances, is still the typical script that relatives and visitors use whenever they visit a home. God bless them all, as they mean well when they ask such questions. In today’s world, things have changed drastically where a child will not know what they want to be when they grow up with certainty. Here is why?
Traditionally, we spend on average 25 years in school over our lifetime to develop our professional and personal lives. Then spend the following 40 years or more to earn an income by solely depending on earlier skills gained. Well, not anymore. The average person will change jobs 12 times in their lifetime, according to zippia, the Career expert. If we have significant job shifts, we cannot rely on the previous skills developed to prepare us for future work. Hence we need a different mindset for the education system and the workspace/place.
The current competency-based curriculum (CBC) is a step in the right direction. The curriculum will equip learners with critical problem-solving skills that the current 8–4–4 system has failed to deliver. Such skills will be crucial in our lifetime because learning will be a continuous lifelong process.
Corporate organizations are now looking to hire employees who are end-to-end players. Employees who can have an idea, develop, implement the project and create business value. Staff that are not only specialists in their fields but also generalists. A generalist is someone who is knowledgeable about many topics and has various interests, skills and hobbies. Leaders are more generalists since they perform multiple tasks across different departments.
Covid-19 has brought the future closer than we had imagined. Remote working has been embraced at a faster rate than initially imagined. Work has shifted to the Platform economies, which consists of short-term contracting, freelancing and online jobs. According to Mercy Corps Youth Impact Labs, Kenya Gig Economy Report 2019, Kenya’s online gig economy as of 2019 was $109 million and employed 36,573 workers. By 2023 the gig economy in Kenya is expected to employ 94,000 people with a gross income of $345Million per year. The government has also not been left behind and migrated to e-government platforms with the likes of E-citizen. Digital skills will be a critical skill for everyone to access services and work efficiently.
“The future has arrived — It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” William Gibson an American-Canadian speculative fiction writer. To prepare ourselves for the future, we need to specialize and learn generalities. We must have continuous lifelong learning to become marketable in the job market. It is essential to have a growth mindset while at the workplace rather than a permanent and pensionable mindset.