#SkillsSeptember: Thinking about the future means looking for opportunities
The pace of technological change is so fast it’s difficult to imagine what the world of work will look like for our children and future generations.
As a mother of five children, all at different stages of the education system, conversations about what we want to be when we grow up range from my four-year-old’s aspirations to be a Unicorn to my eldest struggling to decide and looking to a range of apprenticeships to give him inspiration.
Like most school kids even today, the careers advice I received was fairly traditional and so I started my career as a lawyer. But I’ve been fortunate to be the first in a number of new and exciting roles. I was the first Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales and I’m now the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales challenging our public bodies and others to think about the long-term and take action to improve well-being.
Thinking about the future means looking for the opportunities and making the most of them as well as mitigating the risks.
We are in the middle of a fourth industrial revolution – often talked about as if it’s something that’s about to happen but the reality is that it is here already. Accountancy, engineering, even the way our health services operates, are going through major changes that affect the way we all live our lives.
I set developing skills fit for the future, as one of six priority areas through which I will focus the work of my team, following a conversation with the public and stakeholders during my first year. Public bodies and public services boards have set more than 200 objectives relating to skills, employment and the economy. Part of my duty is to understand whether they are making any real progress against these.
And so I’ve been determined to support and challenge Welsh Government in setting up the Review of Digital Innovation and the Economy and Future of Work in Wales to make sure that it uses the Act and the framework it provides to think about the long-term, involves people in the decisions that affect them and provides a joined-up response across the public, private and third sector to making sure Wales is perfectly placed to make the most of technology in improving our working lives.
I’ve asked the chair of the review Phil Brown to tell us a bit more about the work he is doing and we both want to hear from you.
Recent advances in digital technologies are widely believed to be transforming the economy with major implications for the future of work in Wales. There have been a number of headline grabbing stories about robots taking our jobs, with some claiming a third of Welsh jobs are at risk of automation in the next ten to twenty years.
Although there is little agreement about the accuracy of these figures, growing evidence suggests that digital innovation, including automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the internet of things, is already having a major impact on the Welsh economy, reshaping how we work, where we work, and what we do for a living.
An Independent Review of Digital Innovation and the Economy and Future of Work in Wales has been launched to get a better understanding of the current state of play and future possibilities of digital innovation within Wales.
It will identify the key drivers of technological change and consider the challenges, risks and opportunities they present to government, businesses and the people of Wales.
It will map the future of work in Wales and outline patterns of change across key industries and occupations. It will consider how to accelerate the use of technologies in ways that contribute to the well-being of the workforce as well as Wales’ global competitiveness.
Identify risks that could generate economic and social inequalities, together with opportunities for enhancing the education, skills and quality of work in Wales. It will also assess the preparedness of Welsh Government and the public sector to take advantage of the opportunities presented by new technologies in promoting the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.
In November 2018 our initial findings will be presented to Welsh Government and a final report completed by March 2019.