KEY RECOMMENDATION 2

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Promote Education and Skills

Development for Societal Well-Being

Promote Education and Skills Development for Societal Well-Being

In the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technological innovation is moving forward rapidly at unprecedented rates. As a result, the scope of skills needed to meet industrial needs has been extended. Workers and key decision-makers must understand new skills needed and remain updated on trends or they risk falling behind the pace of innovation. Skills that were once considered specialised are now becoming basic skills necessary for jobs in the industrial sector. These now crucial skills must be developed as soon as possible starting with primary education and continuing throughout the doctoral or equivalent level. Additionally, current workers must be retrained, upgraded and up-skilled to meet new demands. 

Further, skills necessary for manufacturing jobs are moving from manual to more cognitive based skill-sets and therefore require new competencies to maintain and troubleshoot intelligence systems such as robots, AI, and advanced manufacturing. Artificial Intelligence has a growing knowledge level that will require more skilled workers who need to be educated and trained to develop, maintain and troubleshoot systems. Since workers will be managing computers and machines that are increasingly intelligent, employees must be trained to work at a similar level of new smart technologies. 

However, the industrial workforce is not the only group within society that must be trained to deal with new technologies. The general public must also be educated as advanced technology is becoming embedded in every facet of life. In order to avoid people becoming overwhelmed by machines, everyone needs to be more prepared for these new technologies and challenges. The need for more education across multiple domains is due to the fact that technology will be a vital part of daily life. Workers will not only compete among human talent but also with machines and AI algorithms. As a result, education is increasingly relevant compared to the past. 

In order to enable all workers to succeed in a rapidly advancing workplace, changes to the educational process should be considered. In addition to traditional manufacturing skills, new relevant skills should include emphasis on competencies such as analytical reasoning, system and computational thinking, emotional intelligence, communication and team-working skills, entrepreneurial mind-set, data search and analysis. All nations are urged to promote and improve education programmes in order to meet new skills requirements. National agendas should take note that to empower and enable all workers, they need to not only create a better education system but also must retain educated workers in order to receive a return on their investment in education. Satisfying key needs such as a safe and enjoyable living environment must be met in order to keep educated workers. 

Additionally, universities and other academic institutions should revise their programmes according to necessary new skills and update their teaching processes to include new methods such as learning factories. There must be more and improved collaboration between educational institutions, industry, industrial and workers’ associations. This collaboration should be incentivised by public authorities to allow for a workforce with comprehensive skill-sets. Finally, manufacturing education should be promoted within Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) while remaining cognisant of issues such as accessibility. 

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