To ensure we support young people and help them make the most of their unique skills after the pandemic, Oxford Economics calls for the following four steps to be taken through business, government and education:
1. Bridging the education gapThe epidemic has seriously disrupted the learning process of young people. This may negatively affect the economic prospects of Generation Z, and it may prevent them from making the most of the opportunities offered by the new digital economy.
In order to catch up, it can be a good idea to update knowledge in small groups, especially for young people from underprivileged families where not all resources are always available for home study.
2. Education redesignFormal education still aims at acquiring knowledge rather than developing the skills needed to interpret that knowledge. Today’s global education systems are not doing enough to stimulate creative and flexible thinking, which is exactly what we need for jobs in the next decade.
Education should focus more on learning to solve problems and less on the regular testing of factual knowledge. This will be an effective way to develop these types of skills.
3. Using technology for retrainingCOVID-19 has accelerated the transition to a more digital economy and brought lasting changes to many industries. Additional training should be available to all groups of society, so that no one is left behind.
Governments should consider how relatively new technologies such as augmented reality can offer them when training workers for jobs that require more digital skills, especially in situations where only limited material resources are available.
4. Keep learning for life: Data from the OECD survey indicates that just under half of adults participate in continuous learning. But in order to continue to adapt to changes and skills shortages, learning will only become more important to all workers.
To encourage this, companies should not require candidates to obtain their degree as evidence of the training they have undergone, but as evidence of their commitment to learning outside of traditional systems.