The future of work is all about skills

Economic Development | Insights

In September 2019, Agilisys commenced a 10-year Partnership with the States of Guernsey to modernise the island’s IT and infrastructure, transform public services and unlock Guernsey’s digital potential. Richard Hanrahan, Chief Executive of Agilisys Guernsey shares his thoughts on why people are more important than technology

No one needs me to tell them that digital technology can unlock immense benefits for organisations and communities: be that easier access to information and services whenever and wherever we need them, assistive technology to help us live independent lives for longer, or access to expertise and skills at the touch of a button. Advances in Cloud computing, Data science, Robotics, Artificial and Augmented intelligence and maturing applications such as Microsoft’s Office 365 are all changing the way we work and how we live.

But to drive meaningful change, we must look beyond how the technology works, and think more about how people work with technology.

To do this, it’s essential that we support people to develop the necessary skills to not only work with technology, but to get the most from it too. We need to embed a culture that empowers colleagues at all levels to innovate, contribute ideas and pursue lifelong learning.

Developing digital skills

Our world today is a digital one, and technology and data touch all aspects of our lives.

Recent research from the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) found that 82% of advertised job openings require some level of digital skills, while the UK government estimates that digital know-how carries a wage premium of 29% over roles that have no digital skill requirements.

But how can we support people to develop these skills and fully leverage technology in their professional and personal lives?

Traditionally, the starting point for those interested in technology has been a further or higher education course in computer science or IT (information technology).

These days, an apprenticeship revolution spurred by a global skills shortage, means digital apprenticeship programmes are becoming increasingly available, allowing people to ‘learn while they earn’, develop transferable skills, build confidence and gain first-hand experience in their industry. We’re excited to be partnering with States of Guernsey to pilot a digital apprenticeship scheme in Guernsey in 2020.

At the same time, EdTech solutions such as mobile and e-learning platforms are changing the ways we develop skills. It’s becoming easier to learn more flexibly, on-the-go and in the comfort of your own home. Utilising these technologies are a powerful way to hone your digital skills without sacrificing your time at work, school or college.

Locally, Guernsey’s College of Further Education offers a comprehensive range of full and part time learning opportunities and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to support students and staff with Tech Day 2020.

Creating a culture of lifelong learning

The rate of innovation today is unprecedented – so much so, that the World Economic Forum estimates that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist.

In this rapidly evolving landscape, it has never been more pertinent that we all embrace lifelong learning and training. Continuing to develop skills – whether technological, human cognitive or interpersonal – is necessary to keep up with the digital transformation of the workplace.

This commitment to continuous learning begins with the individual, but management must provide constant encouragement and motivation to employees. Enabling people within an organisation to work with technology and leverage the true power of digital requires a culture that supports and nurtures individuals, providing the correct resources and tools to do their jobs.

We must embed learning within our organisations, providing opportunities for employees to learn and develop within and beyond their roles. Leaders must enable people to grow, rewarding innovative behaviour and fostering confidence and independence.

The future of work is now

Changing demographics and advances in technology are driving us to think differently and redefine the skills we need in the workplace. Engaging everyone in the conversation and supporting employees to learn and develop new skills is crucial for an organisation’s success. The future of work is all about skills - and that future is now.

Richard has real clarity and insight into the challenges our customers are facing. He has been working in Guernsey for 3 years and is driven by a passion for designing programmes that deliver long-term transformation and improved public services for whole communities. You can contact Richard on Twitter.

Richard Hanrahan