Artificial Intelligence or Armadillos.

The seismic shifts being created by technological advancement have profound implications for how future lives and careers will pan out but despite all the forecasts, the truth is we don’t know exactly what the world of work will look like in 10 years. What we know for sure is that the future of work will be characterised by ongoing and rapid change.

There are three clear trends we can look at which are already impacting how we work and they have huge implications for the capacities and capabilities we should be teaching children from the critical primary years.

The three shifts driven by technological advancement and accelerating exponentially:

1) We see increasing casualisation of the workforce. This is sometimes sold as the ultimate flexibility where you can vlog from a hammock and make millions. The reality is that there’s far more responsibility on the individual to create the stability and security that institutions used to provide so enterprising and entrepreneurial skills are a necessity for everyone.  


2) Globalisation of the workforce means you’re no longer competing with locals. There’s more movement and the barriers to offshoring and remote working are also far less so you could be competing for a job against someone 5km down the road or 5,000 km away.

3) And the big one, automation. The forecasts vary wildly but there’s no doubt that automation will have an impact on most jobs whether it’s a sudden occupation wipe out as is likely for 3 million US truck drivers or a slower creep of individual tasks being automated within an occupation.

All this means that individuals will have far more responsibility for their career stability and success than ever before.  Careers will be survival of the most adaptable and those who learn to embrace a lifetime of learning and course adjustments will be the ones that thrive.

In the face of this certain uncertainty, students from the age of 10 are more worried about their future than bullying or self image  

But if we flip our optimistic switch, it becomes clear that for those with the right skills:

  • Casualisation can mean the ultimate flexibility in designing your life.  
  • Globalisation can mean the worlds' opportunities are more open to all. 
  • Automation and innovation will also create new jobs and they will be less mundane.  They’re just harder to see.   

There’s never been so much opportunity to craft a career and life which perfectly suits you if you have the intrinsic motivation and the skills. To arm young people with those skills we need to teach them to explore, design and navigate for themselves.  And that's not something you do using a leaflet at 16.

The best thing parents and educators can do to prepare young people for the future is to help them recognise moments of inspiration wherever and whenever they strike and help them dive down the rabbit hole to investigate deeper.  By doing this we strengthen their innate curiosity and love of learning and these are the skills they'll need.  It's less important whether their current inspiration is coding or cooking, artificial intelligence or armadillos.


'Young people will need to be prepared for a journey of lifelong learning and be confident to work autonomously.'


The 5th and final report in this amazing New Work Order Series by the Foundation for Young Australians is out.  Their research uncovers the skills that comprise the 'new work smarts' as the   technology and automation shift the human involvement of most roles and the patterns of how our careers unfold over a lifetime.

Illustrious EdTech judging panel picks BEcoME as a winner!

StartupVic event picture.jpg

We're delighted to say that BEcoME was a winner for the annual StartUp Victoria EdTech event the night before the amazing EC17 Conference by Education Changemakers. 

We pitched our game-changing solution to a crowd of around 800 folk against three other awesome EdTech startups and the illustrious judging panel including Maria Spies, Tim Power and Laura McBain.  They agreed that BEcoME was a winner!  We took away $150k of prizes and a lot of new educator, advisor and investor advocates.

Thanks to StartupVictoria, EduGrowth, EducationChangemakers, the judges and all the StartUp Vic sponsors for a great event in an amazing location.

Launching BEcoME

When I left the crazy world of ad agencies to focus on my growing preoccupation with children's Career Development,  I thought people would get it.  I thought people would say ‘wow that’s an amazing area to get into, it really needs to improve’ or ‘yep, with the looming tidal wave of automation, we absolutely have to change how we prepare our kids for their lives’....

Instead, I saw initial confusion followed quickly by the polite but unconvincing smiles normally reserved for opening awful presents.  On prompting, people vaguely remember sitting in the back room of the school library, filling in a form that gave them their hilarious career ‘answer’ which appears in most cases to have had as much value or influence on them as asking a Magic 8 ball.  People seem to have just accepted that Career Development for children and young adults is of little value and are happy to have their unique and cherished offspring stumble through the system one decision at a time, dictated not by themselves or their flourishing interests and strengths but by when the education system says it’s time to decide.

Career Development professionals that I talked to were equally bewildered at why I was leaving the glam world of ad agencies with our cool sneakers, funky warehouse spaces and jetsetting lifestyle. Most of the people I studied Career Development with were teachers, restricted in their role by a lack of resources at best or more worryingly a lack of passion as they’d been pushed into the role for other reasons.  

2016 was a year of explaining my move to a lot of people.  I thought summarising it would be a good place to start 2017. This is what I said.

I believe that for children and adolescents, thinking about their role in the adult world of infinite possibility should be the most exciting and inspiring thing they can think about.  We don’t make it that way.

To successfully navigate 21st Century careers, children and young adults need to learn to broadly explore the changing world around them and their changing self and bring these two together in creative and unique ways to create potential futures that they can get excited about, test out and refine throughout their lives as the world around them and they themselves continually change.

We know from research that children who can conjure up a positive vision for themselves are more engaged academically and socially as well as achieving better educational and vocational outcomes later on.  It’s like a hook they can use to pull themselves through the tricky years of exam and social pressures.  It’s also widely recognised that the primary school years are the critical foundation period for acquiring these skills. Despite all the evidence, most countries still focus on a one off, just in time decision about the single step after school.  Too little, too late.

The latest academic research and theory in Career Development is solid and progressive but it’s not reaching children fast enough.  Knowing how fast technological waves are breaking over whole industries, it’s absolutely crucial that we step this up.  We can’t, and shouldn't, leave it to schools while they’re evaluated primarily on test scores.   

I started BEcoME to close the gap between research and practice, building inspiring  products and services that make the Career Development experience enjoyable and create more valued, more relevant outcomes.  BEcoME will help schools and parents raise kids who are ready to successfully ride the inevitable waves of change. 

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Posted by Liv Pennie.