Whatever the future holds we must be ready for itby Anne Milton / November 14, 2018 / Leave a comment
Not too long ago, a robot called Pepper appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee in Westminster to answer questions from MPs about how we are going to care for older people in the years ahead.
Pepper, who hails from Middlesex University, was asked by chairman Robert Halfon to explain the artificial intelligence (AI) Caresses project, which promotes independent living in order to reduce pressure on the health service.
Not only was Pepper helping the MPs in their discussions, it was also demonstrating how robots can be used to support learning and how robotics will transform the workplace and classrooms of the future—proof, if any were needed, that we are living in a time of rapid progress.
Technology has always changed the way we live. Take the mobile phone: not that long ago, telephone calls on the go were a novelty—now they are a part of almost every aspect of our daily lives. But technology can also become obsolete overnight. I remember typing pools and secretaries taking letters in shorthand—they vanished as soon as everyone in the workplace had their own computer.
The significance of technological progress for the labour market, and also for education, is huge. We have to future-proof what young people are taught so that by the time they leave school they have the skills they need for the workplace. Crucially, they must also have the skills to adapt to what the workplace will demand from them.
Since becoming Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills last year, I have spoken to a great many employers. I repeatedly hear the same thing: jobs are hard to fill because people don’t have the skills employers need.
Our reforms are changing the whole system of learning and acquiring skills. Every young person will get a top-quality education that’s right for them and which will prepare them for a career in which they can reach their full potential.
To do this we need to make sure that education and training develops hand in hand with business. Apprenticeships are a key part of this. Employers are designing new apprenticeship standards so that young people can learn and earn. These new standards are not only going to be of the highest quality, with off-the-job…