Northern Ireland has an opportunity to re-position itself in the global economy as a region with a skilled workforce ready to do the jobs of the future, but only if the parents and teachers encourage our young people to embrace innovative new careers, according to business advisors Deloitte.
The company gave its call to action as part of its sponsorship of Generation Innovation’s Night of Ambition, which seeks to place young people at the heart of an inspirational network of experienced entrepreneurs, universities and employers. The CONNECT programme seeks to inspire teenagers interested in creative subjects, STEM, computing, art, music and business studies to consider exciting new careers of the future.
Deloitte, headline sponsor for Generation Innovation’s Night of Ambition, believes the rapidly changing world of work and the way technology has disrupted how we engage with services has created opportunities for Northern Ireland to make a new place for itself in the world economy.
But it also warned there is a risk of being left behind if enough isn’t done to build a diverse talent ecosystem of people who can develop solutions, create companies and meet employers’ needs.
Kieran O’Neill, Head of Growth and Innovation at Deloitte said: “The nature of work is changing and that is something Northern Ireland is well placed to take advantage of. The region’s size, proximity to both GB and RoI, our population’s age demographic, our commitment to the digital technology and our talented workforce all suggest we can be a highly competitive in the global economy.
“But we need to act now as every ambitious region in the world is trying to tap into the demand created by new fields such as artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, robotics, cyber security and mobile technology.”
Mr O’Neill said that while great technologies are being developed by people in and from Northern Ireland, those who can adopt and adapt these new technologies will be equally important.
“The people who will be successful will be the problem solvers, the innovators, the collaborators, the insightful. You don’t just get those skills from university,” he said.
“So we need teachers and parents to help young people open their eyes to explore opportunities and consider other career options rather than just automatically funnelling them towards traditional courses and careers. We must educate them about new jobs, reassure them about their viability as careers and also show them that some traditional jobs, seen as solid career choices, may soon become obsolete because of technology,” he added.
“We are at a key juncture. We have all the tools but we need to collaborate and respond now, potentially even asking if our school curriculum is fit for purpose for this new world of work.”
Diane Morrow, Programme Manager at Generation Innovation said: “As a former teacher, I have seen success for students who have chosen alternative career pathways. More must be done to help highlight the growing and innovative opportunities for our young people. Generation Innovation recognises that local young people are key to unlocking our future as a globally renowned knowledge economy and we are committed to engaging with schools and parents to highlight the innovation happening here in NI.”
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