From the Deputy Headmaster

Last week I started to come down with a cold so on the way home I stopped into the chemist. Waiting to buy my Codral, I noticed a change behind the counter. No longer do you have two or more pharmacists putting together the medication, now the pharmacists was at the counter taking the order and instantaneously behind a larger glass window an electronic arm then selected the medication and automatically applied a label to the selected item. Careers like this that have had some tedious manual task associated with their jobs will be and are being impacted by advances in technology. Furthermore, in a recent report by The Foundation of Young Australians, “The New Work Smarts”, it suggests that future pharmacy assistants will have their time spent on store administration cut due to new technology, from 22 hours a week in 2006 to 6 hours in 2030. The focus within their job will change from stocking and ordering supplies to more digital tasks, possibly updating their website or analysing sales data.

With the cold and flu season around it is also that time of the year where many of our Senior students are either attending Careers Expos hosted by the school (in preparation for selecting Senior subjects) or for our Year 12s to be attending university open days so they can determine their preferences for tertiary study entry next year. The reality is that today's 15-year olds enter a world very different from their parents' generation who had a simple recipe to succeed in their jobs: choose a profession, acquire foundational knowledge and slowly become an expert throughout their working lives. However as career paths become less predictable - meaning that future workers will need to be more flexible - it is suggested that our current students will likely have to navigate 17 changes in employers across 5 different careers (Foundation for Young Australians, 2016). They will sometimes be self-employed, at other times working with and for others.

Figure 1: In 2030, some skills will need to be used in billions more hours of work across the economy.

Many reports talk about jobs that will appear and those that will disappear because of technology and globalisation. The reality is that technology will impact on every occupation and tasks within those occupations. Work in 2030 will be continually changing and today’s young people will need to spend more hours learning on the job than ever before. Continuous learning will be part of our everyday engagement in work. For example, our pharmacy assistant may need to more clearly interpret insights from customer data or learn how to use new diagnostic tools.

To prosper in the new work order will require our students to think differently. (See Figure 1). Our students will need to be “problem solvers and communicators, they will use enterprise skills of problem solving for 12 hours each week (up 90 per cent) and critical thinking for 15 hours each week (up 40 per cent). Workers will also use the enterprise skills of verbal communication for 7 hours per week and interpersonal skills - like listening, empathy, and persuasion - for 7 hours per week, (both up 17 per cent from today) at drawing on Science, Maths and Technology knowledge. Workers will use the foundational skills of Mathematics and Science for 9 hours a week (up 80 per cent from today) and advanced Technology skills for 7 hours a week (also up 75 per cent from today)”, (“The New Work Smarts, 2017).

Future workplaces will require 41% more time spent on critical thinking and judgement, 77% more time will be spent using Science and Mathematical skills; verbal communication and interpersonal skills will increase 17% and will consume 7 hours a week, management and organisational coordination will go down 26% and 16% respectively.

As a leader in boys' education it is critical for us to ensure that we are providing the knowledge and skills that will allow our boys to adapt and to become problem solvers ready for a changing landscape. We are continually looking to innovate and be leaders in boys' education.

Tony Dosen
Deputy Headmaster