The past has no power over the present moment – Eckhart Tolle
It was 3.50 pm on a sunny Friday afternoon as I parked outside my 13 year old daughters school for the daily pick up.
‘How was your day? ‘I asked as my daughter slid into the front seat.
‘Fine’ she replied.
There was a pause as I pulled the car into the road before she made the killer statement.
‘Dad’ she reflected ‘I have just realised that teachers are amongst the most important people in society as they are key influencers – they shape the way we grow up’.
‘Crickey that’s deep’ I exclaimed. But of course, she was right. Our whole society and economy is governed by the education we receive. Too often people will comment on an excellent teacher that has impacted on their lives.
This was my endearing thought as I addressed the graduates on Saturday from the Institute of Education (part of Wolverhampton University). I reminded them of the ‘power’ they possessed in shaping the future of the world.
But of course – education does not stop there. We should continue to learn for our entire life – irrespective of our previous education – we live in a turbulent world where AI (artificial intelligence and robotisation) mean that we can no longer rely on what we have learnt in the past but need to consider retraining and lifelong learning for our futures. There is no longer a guarantee of a job for life.
The government in its industrial strategy refers to a productivity problem. With full employment (current unemployment is at 4.5% and as economists will tell us – this is regarded as a state of full employment). Productivity can only be improved by better infrastructure, increasing exports and improving education and skills. This skills improvement can not only come through better literacy and numeracy, the ability to think creatively but also a preparation to learn for an unpredictable future – the need to adapt and change is the new ‘norm’..
To cope with a disruptive world where technology can make your business redundant overnight at the press of a key on a computer keyboard – businesses need to continue to invest in its workforce and if we are solve the productivity problem and compete globally, then this becomes an imperative. Businesses complain about a mismatch between the type of labour that is in supply and the type of labour they wish to hire. We have to examine the supply chain of labour – i.e. from school to FE and then finally university. Whilst it took some time for the Government to understand the need to link these three stages together ( in manufacturing terms – to get the quality of the supply chain operating correctly ) I remain hopeful that the current Department of Education ( who now have ownership of all three stages ( July 16 FE week )) will get it right.
But of course, with the uncertainty around Brexit and an increasingly competitive environment business will need to continue to invest in their workforce and should take advantage of the £10 million that has been provided by government for upskilling their workforce. So if you are in the Black Country and want free training for your workforce then contact http://ssw.fundingunit.org.uk
I have been Vice Chair at Sandwell College for a couple of years, was a governor at Victoria Academy for a number of years and saw the transformation of a failing school to being recognised as outstanding by Ofsted, and I have been a Governor at Wolverhampton University for some time too so I have seen education from all angles but education does not stop there – we need to continue to invest in human capital – we need more skilled workers from catering to digital, more trained coders, more trained engineers and more construction experts – all the skills that the UK needs and as my daughter so eloquently put it – lets have the power to change the world for the present and the future.
Ninder Johal is CEO of Nachural – who will be hosting The Nachural Entrepreneurship Awards on the 24th Nov 2017 at Leicester FC and the Signature Awards on the 16th Feb 2018 at the ICC (Bham).