The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its Future of Jobs Report in October 2020, and problem-solving and interpersonal skills still dominate the list of top skills needed in the next five years. As Graduate Employers strive to grow and retain top talent, supporting skills development in these areas is becoming increasingly important.
“Historically, being able to understand written texts and quantitative relationships was sufficient for entry into the workforce. Now, these skills represent just the starting point on the path towards mastering 21st-century skills,” according to the WEF’s New Vision for Education from 2015.
For graduates entering the workplace in the next five years to thrive, they will need competencies like collaboration, creativity and problem-solving, as well as character qualities like persistence, curiosity and initiative, over and above foundational skills like literacy and numeracy.
Developments in the world of work reflect the WEF’s prediction. There has been a steady increase in roles that require analytical, problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Self-management skills and the ability to use, if not develop, technology are also increasingly sought after. And not just at more senior levels – these skills are required from graduates entering the workplace for the first time.
“As we prepare for the continued increase in these types of roles, the need to collaborate with thought leaders, employers and higher education is apparent,” says Cathy Sims, Executive Director at the South African Graduate Employers Association (SAGEA). “This collaboration is critical in ensuring that South African graduates entering graduate programmes have not only the necessary foundational literacies, but the competencies needed to approach complex challenges, and the personal qualities needed to approach the changing environment.”
“It is critical that, as employers focus on building 21st Century skills as part of their graduate development programmes, we have a clear understanding of what we are trying to develop and how we will measure the attributes. It is equally important that we understand how our higher education colleagues are planning to infuse the development of these skills into their curricula to fully prepare students for their transition into the workplace,” Sims continues.
To this end, SAGEA has launched a new webinar series to unpack the most critical future skills and deep dive into a range of literacies, competencies and qualities employers and higher education will be aiming to develop in their graduates.
The first webinar – focused on ICT and Digital Literacy – will feature Rapelang Rabana as keynote speaker. Rapelang is an internationally lauded technology entrepreneur who was named Entrepreneur for the World by the World Entrepreneurship Forum and selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She is now the Founder of Rekindle Learning, which enables people to adapt to the changing world of work, as well as Rekindle Digital, which focuses on extracting tangible business value from digital transformation.
“We are pleased to have such an accomplished technology entrepreneur speak at our launch event,” Sims says. “Her learnings and insight will undoubtedly strengthen the graduate employment community’s effort to take their planned programmes to the next level in developing graduate recruits’ digital skills in the workplace.”
SAGEA has planned six Unpacking Graduate Attributes webinars for 2020. “Through these sessions, we will be able to facilitate the collaboration between employers, higher education and thought leaders that will be so important to graduates who are embarking on careers in the next few years,” Sims concludes. The SAGEA 2021 Webinar Series: Unpacking Graduate Attributes is open to non-members of SAGEA. Interested parties who would like to attend the webinars can book their seats here.