Educating today's students for tomorrow's nonexistent jobs can be a challenge--one educators should be prepared to meet for the jobs of the future.

How to prepare students for the jobs of the future

Educating today's students for tomorrow's nonexistent jobs can be a challenge--one educators should be prepared to meet

“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist … using technologies that haven’t been invented … in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”—Richard Riley, former Secretary of Education 

Less than twenty years ago, a student saying that they wanted to be a data scientist, digital artist, app developer, virtual assistant or blogger would’ve been met with confused faces and the standard “what’s that?” question from parents and educators.  

You can’t blame them, most of those jobs (if they even existed yet) were just fringe roles on the outside of tech spaces. And at the time, education and job prep were still based on careers that had been solidified. But, the students of the time filled those new roles, many of them having to teach themselves how to effectively do the functions of each job.  

Today, many now wonder if the same thing will happen again with our current students and will there be a skills gap between graduates and careers? Well, it will. A 2018 report by the Institute for the Future (IFTF) said that 85 percent of the jobs that today’s students will do in 2030 don’t exist yet. So, how are we supposed to again prepare students for the jobs of the future, such as a self-driving car mechanic, telesurgeon, or whatever else we see appear?

We asked this question to some of our Connections Academy teachers. Being experienced educators in online learning (another field that didn’t exist 20 years ago), they’ve seen firsthand how the world has changed and how we can better prepare our students with the future job skills for it. Here is what they recommend:  

Teach students these three essential skills

Traditionally, you choose a field that interests you, decide on it as your major/career path and then follow the educational paths that have been laid out to prepare you for that role. But, with the future of work, that’s an outdated recipe. 

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