“A supportive, insightful and motivating facilitator” committed to getting the best out of all individuals and driving a strong, collaborative mentality to bring teams together and encourage reflective thinking. Highly recognised as an open and honest communicator, using intuitive listening skills and acute emotional intelligence. Nicole brings a breadth of experience from 25 years as a Coaching Expert and Project Manager with proven expertise in training, mediation, stakeholder engagement, logistics, facilitation, review, and change management. As an ex-headteacher, Nicole is well-placed and super-focused on meeting the needs of the current and future workforce.
The 2018 “Future of work” report said that, by 2030, 85% of present (then, only 5 years ago) jobs will not exist.
This statistic can evoke a number of reactions; startling, scary, exciting, terrifying, interesting, unsettling, and so on, spanning the whole ‘worried to enamoured’ spectrum. However, one response it should not include is, ignorance. Ignore the 4th industrial revolution as individuals, businesses, organisations, the public sector and Government at your peril, career stagnation and business decline. Lack of interest or actionable curiosity will be behaviours of individuals, businesses, organisations, the public sector and the Government who will miss opportunities to develop, thrive and grow.
Change is Normal and learning is lifelong: One of the Noo Thinking Mantras, and that’s Noo, rhyming with oo; a “Noo” take on new! Those who embrace change and continuous learning will be the ones who are best placed for the now and future work and business spaces. Those who do not, are more likely to be stressed by continual change and disruption and focus much-needed mental energy on negative thoughts about what they have little control over.
With clarity comes confidence. So, let’s be clear. Just think for a moment. The Baby Boomer Generation (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1979), and even a Millennial (born 1980-1994) will remember 20 years ago:
- A (usually) man coming to read the gas and electricity meters
- Video shop staff
- Telephone operators
Nowadays, these generations, plus Generation Z (born 1995-2012), will be familiar with:
- Jobs like app developer, cloud technician, blockchain engineer
- Platforms like WhatsApp, YouTube, TikTok etc
- The Era of Influencers
Which were not in existence 20 years ago!
And 20 years from now?
Add Gen Alpha (born 2013 onwards), and in 20 years’ time we will not bat an eyelid over:
- Climate Change Scientists
- Cultured Meat Farms
- Autonomous Vehicles
And when we say they are a pilots in response to what is xxx doing these days, we will be asked “of what?” and not be at all surprised when composure does not alter to “spacecraft” being the answer!
The “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” “4IR” or “Industry 4.0” all refer to the current era of digitalisation and connectivity, advanced analytics, and automation. The pace of change is increasing day by day, and some say that the only thing holding it back, is infrastructure, the role out of 5G. When that is in place over the next few years, what is possible with technology will not soar as that is huge already, but what is done with technology will, and for those not embracing, Change is Normal and learning is lifelong, will be very challenged and stressed.
We are already in an era where a software engineer could learn things at the start of their degree course, which will be out of date by the end.
So, what does this tell us?
“Leo Salemi,” Teacher and Lifelong Learner said, “You can’t teach about things that don’t exist yet, but you can teach someone to learn how to learn.”
The Education Endowment Foundation’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit (1), is a summary of thousands of quantitative and experimental research studies conducted in schools, comparing the average impact and costs of different approaches to teaching and learning. This study found that the most effective intervention to have a positive impact on progress was metacognition and self-regulation. An effective and routine focus on involving the learner in their journey of study and self-management has a very high impact, which the study quantified as 7 months of accelerated learning within one academic year. They judged the intervention as low cost, as it is a way of teaching and learning, not based on class size or number of extra adults, for example, and its success is based on extensive research; they had lots of lots of evidence for it.
So, learning how to learn actually helps your progress and is what is needed for the future workspace.
Key findings of The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2022 – wave 3 follow up to the 2017 (2) survey, include:
In 2022, 18.0% of children aged 7 to 16 years and 22.0% of young people aged 17 to 24 years had a probable mental disorder.
In young people aged 17 to 19 years, rates of a probable mental disorders rose from 1 in 10 (10.1%) in 2017 to 1 in 6 (17.7%) in 2020. Rates were stable between 2020 and 2021 but then increased from 1 in 6 (17.4%) in 2021 to 1 in 4 (25.7%) in 2022.
One in 4 young people with a probable mental disorder! With mental health support services beyond breaking point, this is a real crisis. So, focusing on resilience, emotional intelligence and empathy in schools to help with self-regulation, not only accelerates progress, which leads to better educational outcomes, which huge volumes of research link to better health outcomes, but it can help prevent the onset of probable mental health disorders.
The World Economic Forum published the skills deemed to be of greatest importance for workers in 2023. Amongst the top 5 on the list were cognitive skills:
Number one on the list was Analytical thinking. This is considered to be a core skill by more companies than any other skill, making up, on average, 9.1% of the core skills reported by companies. This was followed by Creative thinking, then Self-efficacy skills – resilience, flexibility, and agility, after which came Motivation and self-awareness, and coming in at number 5, was Curiosity and lifelong learning – which recognises the importance of workers’ ability to adapt to disrupted workplaces i.e. the ability to learn new skills and see this as a positive.
Within the top 10 list, cognitive, self-efficacy, management skills and working with others outweigh anything else.
So, where should the focus be for young people at school?
There is no time to debate the whole school curriculum here, but what is clear in the debate over skills and content is the ability to learn new skills, understand yourself and others, question, manage, flex, bounce back and listen are key.
We should be asking ourselves, How much of the school curricula is dedicated to these areas?
- Educational research shows that a focus on learning how to learn and manage yourself leads to accelerated progress.
- NHS reports show that young people are increasingly struggling with their mental health. So, focusing on how to manage yourself would really help.
- The pace of change is clearly documented, so being agile and retraining and learning is key to thriving in a disruptive workplace.
- The workplace is demanding soft skills expertise with 9 out of the top 10 workplace skills desired by employers, being soft skills.
The overwhelming evidence, without even mentioning the onset and use of AI, is for a strong focus on soft skills. Yes, we need to have a content vehicle to learn and practise skills, but we must have a strong emphasis on the soft “people” skills. How many of these soft skills can be assessed in an end-of-school exam? Is the regurgitation of crammed-in learning the best way of developing well-rounded and skilled young people?
IQ used to be held as the best judgment of success, but even chief economists have been saying that EQ, emotional intelligence, is the better indicator of success. Now we have AQ and CQ, adaptability and cultural quotients; the ability to flex and work with a range of people in a range of contexts. These ‘new quotients on the block’ are needed now for the workplace and increasingly so for the future.
Our education system is still waking up to EQ. We need to move with pace to get our young people in a place where they have the best chance to be their best work selves: putting metacognition, self-regulation and resilience, analytical thinking and soft skills at the heart of education. This will help our young people be ready for the workplace, give our businesses the employees they need and save the state billions of pounds in reactive support costs.