As A-Level results are announced, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), has called for a change in the narrative around exams so that lifelong learning becomes the norm. According to the organisation, over two fifths (44 per cent) of millennial workers (workers under 34) say they already need to learn new skills because of the profound changes that are occurring in the world of work.
Automation in the workplace is seen as an opportunity to learn new skills and expand their existing roles according to 41 per cent of millennials polled. However, this leaves many unsure of the impact and opportunities that changes to the workplace will reveal for them and the generation behind them, Generation Z.
Millennials cited the most important skills in the workplace over the next five years as:
“Getting your A-Level results is a significant milestone in many people’s lives,” said Andrew Harding FCMA, CGMA, chief executive – management accounting at CIMA said. “But often this day is seen as an end, when we should be talking about it as the beginning of learning in adulthood. Learning doesn’t end when you enter the workplace; in many ways it is where you really start. And that is why we need to change the narrative about learning throughout careers and not just getting qualified to start. However, we shouldn’t under-estimate the importance of individuals taking responsibility for improving their own skills, and ultimately enhancing their career chances.
“For example,” he continues, “our research shows that 41 per cent of millennials see the coming automation revolution as an opportunity but only 27 per cent see it as their responsibility to learn the skills that they will need to make the most of new technologies. This exemplifies a disconnect that needs to be erased quickly as the workplace transforms.”
While the tools in the workplace might be different, the characteristics needed to progress remain the same: ambition, curiosity and a willingness to learn new things, no matter where you are in your career. Harding says that combining the lessons learnt in formal education with next stage in-work learning is going to be key to establishing long and productive careers. “This is also where apprenticeships can play a bigger part in helping workers of all ages,” he says. “Career related qualifications can and should be lifelong and not just one day in August.”