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  • Gina Jeneroux, Future Work & Skills Strategist

A QUEST FOR THE FUTURE

PRESKILLING™ STARTS NOW

A female ranger, in the style of Legend of Zelda or Robin Hood, trekking through an ancient forest. The sun is breaking through the trees, off in the distance.  <IMAGE BY G. JENEROUX  |  MIDJOURNEY & PHOTOSHOP (BETA)>

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a lover of games, technology, and mysteries to solve.

Back in the day, I was hooked on the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I was taken in by the world of Hyrule and the magical characters, the story, the visuals and the mind-bending puzzles. I haven’t thought about my old pals, Link and Zelda, for decades – until I heard the news this spring that the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom had hit the shelves, and was smashing sales records and earning near-perfect reviews.


Alas, a twist: since I hadn’t played any Zelda games in years, I didn’t realize Breath of the Wild (the previous game in the series) held the secret to unlocking the full potential of Tears of the Kingdom. What’s a girl to do? As excited as I was about the new game, I decided to step back and embark on the prequel first. The time I’m spending now will help me build the context and skills I'll need to conquer future challenges.



EMBARKING ON A BOLD QUEST

The world is changing before our eyes. Like my Zelda adventures, we each have the power to build the skills we’ll need in the future – starting now.


The World Economic Forum predicts that 40% of the skills in every job will change by 2025. The Institute for the Future (IFTF), LinkedIn and others have gone even further, predicting that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2035 haven’t been invented yet.


This shift sounds incredible, until we step back and consider how much jobs and work have already changed over the past few years.


85% of the jobs that will exist in 2035 haven't been invented yet.  <Three panels labeled '2011', '2023' and '2035'. One arrow flows from 2023 back to 2011, and another flows from 2023 forward to 2035.>  2011 - Jobs that EXISTED 12 years ago and are DISAPPEARING: - Meter reader - Switch board operator - TV/VCR repair - Assembly line worker - Dictaphone operator - Video store clerk - Film projectionist  2023 - Jobs that DIDN'T EXIST 12 years ago and are HERE TODAY: - Blockchain engineer - Mobile app developer - Sustainability manager - Cloud computing specialist - AI/big data analyst - Autonomous vehicle designer - YouTube content creator  2035 - Jobs that could be common 12 YEARS FROM NOW: - Quantum programmer - Remote drone pilot - Climate change scientist - Waste designer - End-of-life coach - Human bias auditor - Cultured meat farmer  <Adapted from the Institute for the future (IFTF), LinkedIn and Fast Company Future Forum. Model (c) G. Jeneroux>

If the jobs of the future haven’t been invented yet, how can you know which skills to build – and how to stay current in the job you have today, while also preparing for the future?


My advice is to make time for both.

SKILLS SNAPSHOT TIME FOR SKILLS  UPskilling, REskilling and PREskilling™ are all ways to build key skills, and each has its place.  Try to focus 70-80% of your learning time on building and deepening skills for today, and 20-30% on proactively building skills that will be critical tomorrow.   It can take months of dedicated effort to develop foundational future skills, so it’s important to start early.  <Image of a pie chart with 2 segments: 70-80% on the left = Focus on today: UPskilling & REskilling. 20-30% on the right = Focus on the future: PREskilling™>  ---------------  Additional description of the FOCUS ON TODAY:  UPSKILLING enhances existing skills and builds targeted new ones to help people stay current in their existing job or field.  What does it look like?  Examples: A customer service representative gaining proficiency in chatbot management; or a program manager learning new software or techniques to work more efficiently or effectively   RESKILLING enables individuals to acquire entirely new skills to equip them to ​transition into a different job or field. It opens new work and career opportunities, and it is especially important when roles are becoming obsolete.  What does it look like? Example: Equipping a manufacturing worker to become a software developer  ---------------  Additional description of the FOCUS ON THE FUTURE:  PRESKILLING™ equips individuals to build skills – starting now – that will be critical in the future. It helps individuals be nimble, stay ahead of the curve, and prepare for upcoming industry shifts.   What does it look like?  Examples: Building proficiency in emerging technologies like AI and Blockchain; critical thinking and problem solving; and sustainability, conservation and renewable energy  Time required to START building future-focused skills:* - 1 to 2 months for foundational HR, Communication, Sales & Marketing skills - 2 to 3 months for foundational Product Development, Data & AI skills - 4 to 5 months for foundational Cloud Computing & Engineering skills  <*ADAPTED FROM WEF, HBR, FORBES AND COURSERA.     TM = TRADEMARK OF GINA JENEROUX  |  THE FUTURE IS NOW CONSULTING INC.      MODEL (c) G. JENEROUX.>

No one can be 100% sure of what the future will hold (hello, pandemic!). However, we can make educated guesses about which skills to focus on, to survive and thrive as technology accelerates and work changes.


I think about skills in three big buckets:

  • technical and digital skills

  • human (‘power’) skills

  • higher cognitive skills


Within these categories are critical skills that will be a priority for everyone:


SKILLS SNAPSHOT:  CRITICAL SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE - STARTING NOW  ‘Skills’ encompass the knowledge, competencies, and abilities to perform tasks. Skills are developed through study and practice, and hands-on life and work experiences.  There are different types of skills:  <Image of a triangle with a different category of skills on each side: 'Technical & Digital Skills', 'Human ('Power') Skills', 'Higher Cognitive Skills'. The words 'CRITICAL SKILLS' appear in the middle of the triangle.>  SECTION 1: --------------- TECHNICAL & DIGITAL SKILLS equip people to keep pace with accelerating technology, and deepen their business and financial acumen.   Priorities for everyone: 1. Digital fluency 2. Data & analytics  SECTION 2: --------------- HUMAN (‘POWER’) SKILLS, also known as social and emotional skills, help individuals understand and relate to others.   Priorities for everyone: 3. Empathy 4. Resilience  SECTION 3: --------------- HIGHER COGNITIVE SKILLS enable you to synthesize, evaluate and apply information in complex situations.   Priorities for everyone: 5. Problem-solving 6. Innovation 7. Creativity  <(c) G. Jeneroux, 2023. Adapted from McKinsey & OECD.>

The majority of the learning you’ll do to stay current in your existing role or field will likely be driven by your company or industry. This could include formal programs, continuing education credits and certifications. That’s your 70-80%.


The place where you can really set yourself apart is in the choices you make to prepare for the future. That’s your 20-30%, and it’s all about PREskilling™ to build targeted technical, human and higher cognitive skills. It also includes the quick bursts of learning you’ll do, any time, all the time, to stoke your curiosity, spark fresh perspectives about topics that interest you, and keep you coming back for more.



THE PATH TO PRESKILLING™


A successful PREskilling™ quest has five key elements:


THE PATH TO PREskilling™ STARTS HERE  <Image of a path with key map markers representing each of the steps below. The path loops around #4 (Learn & Apply New Skills), to show that this step will repeat, with #5 (Measure Progress) as a checkpoint to assess progress and refine learning along the way. On the right side of the image (at the end of the path) is a photo of the ranger, leaping forward to continue her bold quest.>  1) Identify future-focused skills that need to be developed.   2) Assess where you are today.   3) Create personalized development plans to address gaps and build on strengths.   4) Go deep to learn & apply new skills and earn meaningful credentials (e.g., robust degree/certificate programs, apprenticeships, boot camps, independent study).   5) Regularly measure progress and refine as required.  <TM = TRADEMARK OF GINA JENEROUX  |  THE FUTURE IS NOW CONSULTING INC.  MODEL (c) G. JENEROUS. CHARACTER BY G. JENEROUX  |  MIDJOURNEY & PHOTOSHOP (BETA)>

Let’s look at each element in a bit more detail.


Step 1 from the Path to PREskilling™: IDENTIFYING FUTURE-FOCUSED SKILLS

Here’s where you identify which skills to focus on.


Let’s say you wanted to build your Digital fluency – an important target for the future! Digital fluency enables you to use specific technologies, and leverage them to adapt and achieve your goals in a rapidly-changing digital landscape.


It includes key skills like these:

  • Digital literacy: Understanding the fundamental concepts of digital technologies, such as using mobile devices and computers (including hardware, operating systems, apps and productivity tools)

  • Information literacy: The ability to find, evaluate and assess information, including being able to conduct effective online research, identify reliable sources, and discern credible information from misinformation

  • Cybersecurity awareness: Being aware of potential online threats, and protecting yourself and your data from cyber attacks

  • Coding: Basic knowledge of coding languages and programming concepts, including understanding how software is built and being able to customize or create simple scripts

  • Social media savviness: Knowing how to use social media platforms for professional and personal purposes, including building networks, maintaining an online presence, and following the ‘dos and don’ts’ of social media etiquette


Prioritize the most critical skills you want to work on. Think 3-5 (max!) at a time. Being specific will help you convert your learning effort and skill development time into impact.


Step 2 from the Path to PREskilling™: ASSESSING WHERE YOU ARE TODAY

Once you identify a short list of critical skills, you’ll need to determine your current proficiency level for each one. This sets the stage for a tailored development plan, and establishes your own personal baseline to measure against.


Be as objective as possible when you do your assessment, so you get a realistic picture of your starting point.


There many different types of assessments, ranging from self-assessments (subjective) to tested and observed assessments (objective). The more in-depth your skills are to start, the deeper your assessment will need to go. For example, a multiple-choice test may be fine if you’re a novice, but if you can operate at a higher level, it’s more useful to demonstrate the skill in action.


In recent years, great advances have been made in AI-fueled skills assessments, which drive dynamic development plans and learning experiences, based on the skills you have and those you need. AI assessments bring us one step closer to creating personalized learning experiences that truly feel like they were ‘made for you.’


Step 3 from the Path to PREskilling™: CREATING A PERSONALIZED DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Personalized development plans help you prioritize your learning, to address your unique strengths and gaps. A good plan includes:

  • specific skill goals

  • targeted learning activities and experiences

  • opportunities to actively apply your new skills

  • milestone completion dates, to keep you on track


If you’ve completed an AI assessment, the system can automatically generate a development plan for you, which you can adjust to match your goals and preferred timing.


Step 4 from the Path to PREskilling™: GROWING YOUR SKILLS

This is where the learning happens!


Make sure to include a range of options, so you can learn and apply your skills in action, engaging in fresh experiences, and foster connections that will help you grow:

TABLE: WAYS TO BUILD SKILLS  <2 columns ('Focus' + 'Examples'). 3 rows ('Learning and applying skills' + 'Engaging in experiences' + 'Fostering connections'>  Learning & applying skills. Examples: - Independent study - Robust certification programs (e.g., badges, certificates, diplomas and degrees) - Apprenticeships - Boot camps  Engaging in experiences. Examples: - Gigs - Rotation programs - Stretch assignments  Fostering connections. Examples: - Networking - Peer-to-peer communities - Mentorships

The combination of learning activities you choose will be unique to you, and will be driven by your personal skill goals and preferences.


Step 5 from the Path to PREskilling™: MEASURING YOUR PROGRESS

To stay on track, it’s important to continually assess your progress and refine your approach.


The process of measuring your progress helps you take stock, celebrate your successes, adjust where required, and feel confident that your PREskilling™ efforts are moving in the right direction.




LOOKING FORWARD

Just as Link slays monsters and tackles head-scratching puzzles in the Zelda series, we all need to embrace the unknown to sharpen our skills.


Whether you're a seasoned gamer or a non-gamer extraordinaire, the message is clear: now is the time to equip ourselves with the skills we need for future adventures. With every challenge we conquer today, we'll unlock the power within ourselves to thrive tomorrow. It’s an epic journey, and each new skill can become a golden key to success.


Let’s set out on this bold skills quest together, and forge a path to even brighter days ahead!



TM = Trademark of Gina Jeneroux | The Future is Now Consulting Inc.

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