This report is byJames Playfoot, Director of Strategy & Ideas, White Loop and
Ross Hall, Director of International, Edexcel
The aims of the Effective Education for Employment project are twofold:
• First, to identify the key challenges around developing talented, capable people to fulfil the workforce requirements of businesses and organisations worldwide.
• Second, to begin the process of addressing these challenges.
Consequently, this report represents a contribution to the debate and a starting point for further discussion and action.
The project is particularly interested in presenting an international comparison of some of the world’s fastest growing nations. The issues in these countries are, arguably, most acute. Not only is the pace of change creating unprecedented demand for skilled labour, but also these new economic powers are predominantly developing nations
who are facing significant challenges around reforming their education systems.
The concept of globalisation is often used to refer to the blurring of international economic boundaries and the increasing connectivity of the world’s economies. It seems now that professional education sits firmly within this paradigm.
While country-specific skills demands still exist, the focus of education is ever more on portable qualities that individuals can use in any job, in any sector, anywhere in the world. The irony is that in the knowledge economy, knowledge alone is not enough and, in fact, is less important than having the right attitude and understanding how to learn and how to behave. In one sense, the challenges for education are very much
social and are therefore culturally defined.
However, the overall picture of demand and need is remarkably similar across the world. And it is possible to characterise both a set of common issues (which we do below) and propose a series of actions to improve the impact education can have on the ability of a workforce to support and grow the economy. Considering the need for greater emphasis on soft skills –communication, leadership, critical thinking, confidence – it is perhaps at school that teaching these skills and attributes should begin.