August Webinar - Getting Students Future Ready

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August Webinar - Getting Students Future Ready

Sameer Nagarajan, Global President, HR, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, India gave an excellent overview of the skills the world will need in the future. He predicted that written skills are likely to be more important than they are today.
Although we tend to think of writing in the context of providing copy for media like books, film, television the scope is broadening. For example, the proliferation of online platforms means that excellent writing skills will always be in demand.

The Webinar was a tremendous reminder of how different the work world is today compared to when I left school.
My first job was in a chocolate  factory in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. It  required that I feed chocolate croquets  into a barrel shaped machine. It spun them around then fed them individually into an automated wrapping machine. My job was to carefully feed the unwrapped chocolates into the machine. I was utterly hopeless. The chocolates always jammed up the machine. I would have to stop the machine and unjam them, breaking all the chocolates in the process. Needless to  say, my supervisor  soon realised  my future was not to be the croquet queen and I got moved on to the chocolate bar conveyor belt. At 17, I felt quite the failure.
But one of the reasons I kept losing focus was a vivid understanding that in twenty years' time my job would no longer exist.

Fortunately, that realisation led me to University and a career that no machine, or new technology could take. As technology becomes more ubiquitous my options as a writer increase. Online platforms need content and communication between team members in different countries needs to be clear and concise. This is especially the case in a world where there are more non-native English speakers than there are native.

Every day deals are signed by signatories who have never met. So what we write has to build trust and empathy. That requires exceptional writing skills that are clear and unambiguous. The world I saw all those years ago while feeding chocolate into a machine has arrived. 

Employers are now looking for employees who can think creatively, solve problems, analyse information, and who are committed to life long learning. In the Webinar a science teacher pointed out how important written skills are across all disciplines. For example, scientists need to write reports that other people can understand. The same goes for any other report writer.

Sameer ended his presentation with a wonderful quote by Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock:
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn