Opportunity knocks: mid-career workers get ready

| April 20, 2018

Executive Director, Future Think, Penny Carballo-Smith

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, did not mince words during last week’s Canada Growth Summit.  He intimated that artificial intelligence, big data and high tech machines could lead to mass unemployment, stagnant wages and political instability.  “If you substitute platforms for textile mills, machine learning for steam engines, Twitter for the telegraph, you have exactly the same dynamics as existed 150 years ago – when Karl Marx was scribbling the Communist Manifesto.”  

When one of the world’s leading central bankers invokes Karl Marx, we should take note!

Expert predictions of job losses in the UK range from 10% to 30%.  Some argue that whilst the challenges ahead are real, waves of technological change in the past always created more jobs than they destroyed. So shouldn’t we expect the same this time around? 

 There “is no need to panic”, suggests the recent TUC report “Shaping Our Digital Future”,  “but there is a need to plan”. 

 And plan we must.  It is the one thing experts seem to agree on.  Digital technologies are transforming every industry sector and every profession.  We all need to develop “digital ready” skills to compete in a fast changing, technologically more sophisticated world of work.  And many of us need to be prepared to change careers altogether….time and time again as the economy continues to change.

Many mid-career workers are doing just that.  They are flocking to career transforming outfits like General Assembly – see https://ga.co/2GwJs01   – which develops technical skills in demand in the UK’s fast growing tech sector, and also provides a pipeline to employers.

© Penny Carballo-Smith, April 2018.

Some are taking free or low cost courses recommended by the UK’s National Careers Service  – see https://bit.ly/2eFCLYs  (It is always worth chatting through options with one of their advisers  – call 0800 100 900.)

Others are preparing to tap into the Government’s recently announced Industrial Strategy for adult re-skilling and lifelong learning. A key part of this strategy is the establishment of the Institute of Coding launched by a consortium of universities, industry experts and businesses.

“The benefits to students from the Institute of Coding are clear” said Professor Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE…”exciting courses designed to meet the needs of employers; exposure to leading research; and increased work experience to support the development of their employability skills and transition to work.” – see Prime Minister announces £20 million Institute of Coding – GOV.UK

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Category: African Caribbean, Culture & Society, UK Caribbean Diaspora News

About the Author (Author Profile)

Penny Carballo-Smith is the executive director of the social enterprise Future Think (www.futurethink.info) which equips marginalised communities for new job opportunities emerging in our rapidly digitising world of work. Penny is a graduate of the University of the West Indies (LLB) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LLM), and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce – a London based organisation committed to finding practical solutions to social challenges.

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