Students need improved 21st century skills. Without these skills, they will not be able to successfully participate in the global economy. They won’t be adequately prepared for the labour market.
But what, exactly, are 21st century skills? Are we just talking about technology skills?
More than technological expertise, 21st century skills refer to content knowledge, literacies and proficiencies that prepare individuals to meet the challenges and opportunities of today’s world
Here are 7 must have skills every student need to be successful.
1. Adaptive Thinking: Alvin Toffler said “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” In the digital age, things are changing at a very fast rate. By the time employees learn the newest software or program, a better version is coming about. This means future employers will need to be able to adapt to changing conditions as well as be able to learn new things quickly and efficiently. Students to learn how to learn.
2. Communication Skills: There continues to be an emphasis on the ability to communicate. This is the digital age, we have access to a wide variety of new ways to communicate from social media, video calls etc. Empathy and perspective is a skill that is a necessity in communication. The ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, to understand their feelings, and to help solve their problems. Future employers need to be able to communicate and understand people within their team, as well as people who are not within their team or organization.
3. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills: The world is changing fast and employers need employees who can solve problems, provide ideas and help improve the organization.
4. Personal Management: If you can manage yourself well, you’ll be able to manage your projects. Figure out how to multi-task and learn to delegate assignments in case you need to. You should have a goal of not bringing your work home, so try to use your time at work in the most productive way possible. This includes the ability for employers to independently plan, organize, create and execute, rather than wait for someone to do this for them.
5. Soft Skills: Schools rarely teach students soft skills, including skills such as organizational skills, the ability to look someone in the eyes when talking to them. These are skills every student or young individual should own.
6. Technology Skills: Tech is everywhere, tech is the language of the future. So many companies are now reliant on technology in one way or another. Virtually every career and industry is becoming more tech-focused and tech-reliant. Industries from agriculture to education are integrating tech into their day-to-day operations. It’s clear: those who have tech skills and are comfortable working with technology will have a much easier time adapting to changing expectations.
7. Creativity and Innovation: This skill is mentioned often. I believe that it correlates with the ability to ask good questions and the ability to problem solve. Employers will be looking to employees more and more for creative and innovative solutions to issues that exist.
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