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The future of work won't be about college degrees, it will be about job skills


   Skill Training Is More Useful

According to the survey Freelancing in America 2018, released Wednesday, 93 percent of college-educated freelancers say their skill training is more useful in the work they are doing now than their college training.

   Word Economic Forum

Sixty-five percent of children entering primary school will end up in jobs that don't yet exist, reveals the World Economic Forum. The result is a proliferation of new, non-traditional education options.
Tony Talbot | AP Students walk across campus at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

   Will the Debt Pay-off?

Twenty million students started college this fall, and this much is certain: The vast majority of them will be taking on debt - a lot of debt.  What's less certain is whether their degrees will pay off. According to the survey Freelancing in America 2018, freelancers put more value on skills training: 93 percent of freelancers with a four-year college degree say skills training was useful versus only 79 percent who say their college education was useful to the work they do now.


In addition, 70 percent of full-time freelancers participated in skills training in the past six months compared to only 49 percent of full-time non-freelancers. The fifth annual survey, conducted by research firm Edelman Intelligence and co-commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, polled 6,001 U.S. workers.

   Anachronistic Higher Education

This new data points to something much larger. Rapid technological change, combined with rising education costs, have made our traditional higher-education system an increasingly anachronistic and risky path. The cost of a college education is so high now that we have reached a tipping point at which the debt incurred often isn't outweighed by future earnings potential.

   False Sense of Security

Yet too often, degrees are still thought of as lifelong stamps of professional competency. They tend to create a false sense of security, perpetuating the illusion that work - and the knowledge it requires - is static. It's not. 

   70% of Skills are New

For example, a 2016 World Economic Forum report found that "in many industries and countries, the most in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even five years ago, and the pace of change is set to accelerate." And recent data from Upwork confirms that acceleration. Its latest Upwork Quarterly Skills Index, released in July, found that "70 percent of the fastest-growing skills are new to the index."

   65% of Primary School Children's Jobs Don't Exist Yet

Expect the change to keep coming. The WEF cites one estimate finding that 65 percent of children entering primary school will end up in jobs that don't yet exist.  Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, comments:
"These trends aren't just academic to me. It's influenced the advice I give my children. While my father had one job throughout his life, I've had several. And I tell my children not only can they expect to have many jobs throughout their working lives but multiple jobs at the same time.” Continuing "It is therefore imperative that we encourage more options to thrive without our current overreliance on college degrees as proof of ability. We need new routes to success and hope."
Upwork CEO on IPO: The market is ready for us   9:54 AM ET Wed, 3 Oct 2018 | 04:27

   New, non-traditional education options

The future of work won't be about degrees. More and more, it'll be about skills. And no one school, whether it be Harvard, General Assembly or Udacity, can ever insulate us from the unpredictability of technological progression and disruption.

   What Really Matters

Kastriel is the leader of a technology company and former head of engineering, who has hired many programmers during  his career. What matters to him is not whether someone has a computer science degree but how well they can think and how well they can code. In fact, among the top 20 fastest-growing skills on Upwork's latest Skills Index, none require a degree.

   Lifelong Reskilling

Freelancers, the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, realize more than most that education doesn't stop. It's a lifelong process, and they are nearly twice as likely to reskill. More and more, companies are catching on. Last year PwC began a pilot program allowing high school graduates to begin working as accountants and risk-management consultants. And this August, jobs website Glassdoor listed "15 more companies that no longer require a degree," including tech giants such as Apple, IBM and Google. "Increasingly," Glassdoor reported, "there are many companies offering well-paying jobs to those with non-traditional education or a high-school diploma."

   Performance Required

Google, for example, used to ask applicants for their college GPAs and transcripts; however, as Laszlo Bock — its head of hiring — has explained, those metrics aren't valuable predictors of an employee's performance. As a result, Bock told The New York Times a few years ago that the portion of non-college-educated employees at Google has grown over time.

   New Options in Education

And second, new non-traditional education options are proliferating. Often laser-focused on the most in-demand skills, would-be college students can now enrol in campus-based, project-focused institutions, like the Holberton School (where Kesriel is a trustee) or online programs such as e-learning sites like Coursera or Udemy.


"To be sure," says Kisreil, " I'm not saying college is a waste of time and money for everyone. But if there's one takeaway, it's this: The future of work won't be about degrees. More and more, it'll be about skills. And no one school, whether it be Harvard, General Assembly or Udacity, can ever insulate us from the unpredictability of technological progression and disruption. But one thing can: The fastest-growing segment of the workforce — freelancers — have realized more than most that education doesn't stop. It's a lifelong process. Diploma or not, it's a mindset worth embracing."

   Your 'Off-Site' Partner in Development

We're constantly training and seeking to upskill staff, giving them not only work skills, but also life-skills. This helps us ensure that we've always got people around who can understand and deliver new ideas and new projects. So, whether you have a scheme for just a few houses, or flats up to 6 storeys, we’re interested in hearing from  you, your  architects, builders and landowners. Almost certainly you are becoming aware of changing approaches, systems, designs as well as homeowner preferences and aspirations – all things that we know a lot about. Working with our teams we believe will help you to provide you’re your clients want and more readily marketable homes. 

   Better all-round Savings

Our specialist services and CUSTOM homes division deliver best value and  protect the interests of land owners, house-builder developers, professionals and private individuals seeking to build their dream home. Our off-site construction systems also reduce the amount of material that gets wasted on site, helping to avoid land fill, hazardous waste separation and handling, They also deliver better value for you and your customers.
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