Article by Annie Brookstone for Change Exchange.

What does tomorrow hold in store for your children?

In an age of restless change, the future isn’t what it used to be, especially when it comes to the way the world works. What does tomorrow hold in store for your children, and what will it mean for their careers? We spoke to an educational psychologist to get some fresh insights.

How can we anticipate the future and make sure that we get our children onto the best path for their prosperity?

We recently ran an Iris Session with educational psychologist Lisa Anderson about the jobs of the future.

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An essential topic, and we think her pearls of wisdom and advice bear repeating. Here’s what Lisa has to say about future-smart planning for ‘generation next’.

How early should parents start thinking about preparing their children for the challenges of adulthood?

I think preparation for adulthood starts from day dot, however, career guidance generally begins in Grade 9, as students are required to select subjects related to their preferred career field at the start of Grade 10.

The world our children are growing up in is a very different world to the one we grew up in. How can parents prepare their kids?

Open communication and exposure to information related to various career trends and changes in technology is important. Learning multiple languages is essential.

Parents should discuss current events, future career trends and the notion of globalisation in order to prepare their children for the world of work.

Inspiring creativity and independent thought is also important. Teach children to be enquirers rather than just sitting back waiting for information to come to them.

What skills will be more valuable and which will become less valuable for the jobs of the future?

The general assumption is that technology and robotics will make many human jobs invalid. This is very debatable. I still believe the world will require the so-called ‘soft skills’ only humans have. Emotional intelligence will become a hugely valuable resource.

The big question is whether artificial intelligence will supersede emotional intelligence. The idea of losing jobs to robots is an unsettling one, but not every profession will be affected.

Among the most likely to disappear or see significant job losses are telemarketers, accountants, retail sales persons, technical writers and real-estate agents.

How can parents guide their children into subjects and careers that are right for them?

Research, research and more research. The more informed your child is about career trends the better. Job shadowing is a brilliant way of exposing a child to a particular career field. Contact with tertiary institutions is also essential.

You need to be aware of what the admission requirements are and what subject choices are recommended for each faculty.

How does the school system need to change to help prepare kids for the future?

I don’t think many schools place enough emphasis on career guidance. Neither is enough emphasis placed on assisting students in identifying their personal strengths and interests and how these relate to career choice.

Many students simply choose a career based on how much money they can earn or whether or not it will award them status in their community. Many also base their career choice on what their parents do,or opt for the most popular choice amongst their peer group.

Career guidance should become a ‘subject’ or additional course from Grade 10 onward. Children should be taken to various work environments, conduct interviews with various professionals, attend workshops and engage in discussions that explore the possibilities of the world and careers of 2030.

What is most important for our children to consider when it comes to following a career path?

I think passion and personal interest is most important. Parents should encourage their children to be inventive and solution-focused. In addition to this our youth should be informed about future challenges – food shortages, a lack of water, and environmental collapse – and should be encouraged to work towards preserving humanity and the planet over making tons of money.

Financial stability is important, however, personal job satisfaction and emotional well-being should take precedence. With increased rates of anxiety and depression ever prevalent, everyone should enjoy their job, as this where you spend most of your time.

I am an advocate of life-long learning and development. Study and develop skills throughout your life. New jobs are created daily. We need to keep up.

Watch the full session with Lisa in this video…