The working world is under rapid transformation, and this is inevitably having a profound impact on the skills required for students and graduates entering the workplace. Research shows that the skills they currently possess aren’t well aligned with employers’ requirements. In fact, 60 per cent of hiring managers find new graduates do not obtain critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are necessary for the job.
The modern skill set
Employers now have different expectations when it comes to their recruitment choices. They are looking to hire individuals that obtain a wide variety of skills, extending beyond academic abilities. Interestingly, a World Economic Forum study found that students with skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity, communication and collaboration are better equipped to succeed in the evolving digital economy.
Creativity as the key to success
Creativity is often perceived as a skill that is only necessary within certain industries and roles. However, it can and should be applied within every career and business model. Creativity is not only the ability to think innovatively, but also includes the capacity to solve problems and adapt to new circumstances: the lifeblood of any organisation.
Creativity should be integrated into learning at every level, and in every discipline. It should encourage lateral thought and thereby improve employability, while arming graduates with the essential skills to survive in a competitive marketplace. One way to weave creativity into the curriculum is to immerse it into the design of the environment, and ensure that students are encouraged by their surroundings to innovate and adapt.
An ecosystem of spaces
The environment in which students are learning cannot be static, either. The spaces should reflect both the diversity of the brain and of the students themselves. They should be provided with an ecosystem of spaces that allows for individuals to focus on the task at hand: with places for collaborative thinking, project help, communal studying and private work.
Interactive learning that encourages both communication and the ability to retreat into private work is a style of learning that reflects the human experience, allowing for emotions to play a role in the way we learn and think. Moving away from traditional classrooms is a democratisation of the space, taking into account the varying needs of each individual and their preferences to change. This adaptability of space can help translate into students and graduates being better equipped to constantly shift roles and acclimatise to new circumstances; a key skill in the current and future world of work.
The nature of student learning
Students are, by nature, keen to learn and adapt. By allowing their spaces to reflect this, we can start to consider student success as a more complex, diverse issue than simply grades and classifications. This will not only encourage creativity, innovation and leadership abilities, but it will also ensure that students are fully prepared before entering the workplace.