Talk to enough people in business today, and it’s clear that the nature of work is changing and a company’s ability to access talent and emerging skills are likely to become a factor in its continued growth and prosperity. The rise of the ‘gig’ economy is changing how many people choose to participate in the economy, with increasing numbers of people moving into part time, freelance or self-employed roles.
At the same time, technology advances such as the emergence of augmented intelligence are changing traditional job roles and creating new roles that don’t exist today.
Traditional tertiary education models are only partially able to cope with the demand for highly skilled labour that will be required. It’s clear that other models, such as vocational learning delivered through a partnership between government, educational institutions and the private sector can help address some of these challenges.
This week in Seoul, South Korea, the Ministry of Education and IBM Korea announced an introduction of P-TECH (Pathways In Technology Early College High School) education model that provides students with early exposure to jobs through mentoring, site visits and paid internships, in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ (STEM) disciplines.
In South Korea, this new 5-year education model combines 3 years of high school and 2 years of college curricula. P-TECH students will gain academic and technical skills, as well as professional, workplace skills such as collaboration, communication, and problem solving.
Since its establishment in New York in 2011, P-TECH has been replicated in more than 110 schools across 8 US states, with tens of thousands of students benefiting from the program. P-TECH is progressively being rolled out across the Asia Pacific region, with programs already established in Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, and two more planned for the Philippines and New Zealand soon.
What is also impressive about this program is that it targets traditionally under-served and under-motivated students, opening up career opportunities that previously may not have been available to them. The student graduating from P-TECH schools will secure jobs in emerging growth areas, such as data science, cloud computing and augmented intelligence.
Bridging the skills gap that exists today requires these types of education programs to be massively scaled. Clearly, it is just this type of innovative approach that is required to ensure the necessary pipeline of talent needed to fuel the continued growth and prosperity of the global economy.