Cross Trainer

Continuous advice will be the activity of the moment

Perspective by:
Research Squad
Moxi Ventures

The global skills gap is huge. And as automation and artificial intelligence take an ever-greater hold in business, industry, and commerce, that disparity is only going to accelerate. Traditional approaches toward education and training are no longer fit for purpose. It’s time to blend the best of old and new – and get smarter when it comes to education.

Modern digital, technical, and scientific skills will continue to be in high demand. But people’s current abilities are failing to keep pace with modern requirements. That’s true in countries all around the world – even in some of the most developed economies. The US, for example, ranks just 38th globally in math and 24th in science.[1] That’s already having a real impact: nearly half of small businesses say they struggle to find the right talent to fill openings.[2]

The consequences of the workforce skills gap will get ever more serious. As many as 47% of current US jobs might be completely wiped out in the coming years by a combination of automation and advances in technology.[3] And traditional approaches to education and training will prove increasingly unable to help those workers adapt.

New partnerships will form to meet the demand for skills. The United Nations is working with IBM, for example, to create a digital skills training program for 25 million people across Africa. The company wants the continent to be able to capitalize on what will be the largest global workforce by 2040.[4]

New training models driven by digital technology will continue to evolve, and innovations will emerge from all quarters. The MasterClass model offers inside tips and expert inspiration in a series of online courses covering everything from cooking to comedy. Participants sign up for insights from celebrity experts such as Gordon Ramsay, Annie Leibowitz, and Stephen Curry.[5]

Apple, too, is looking to share its expertise with a wider audience. The company is building on its Genius Bar physical and digital infrastructure to launch Apple Camp sessions teaching kids the basics of block-based coding, for example.[6] The company is also helping public schools and community colleges develop the digital skills of Chicago’s young people through its Everyone Can Code program.[7]

Digital and coding bootcamps, such as those at WeWork’s Flatiron School in NYC, will become more commonplace.[8] And for those who can’t get to a bootcamp in person, bespoke home learning platforms like that offered by the Khan Academy in India, will proliferate.[9]

Time-tested approaches will continue to be part of the solution for technical training. Germany’s approach to apprenticeships will act as a model for other nations. The country is enjoying its lowest unemployment rate for nearly 40 years thanks in part to the system of technical training that values mentorship and mastery.[10]

Because, in the end, bridging the global skills gap means pulling out all the stops – and blending the best of the old with the best of the new.