Lightbulb Moments

Dell Technologies, with the Institute for the Future (IFF), recently published a report which suggests that experts, “estimated that around 85% of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.” In addition, those new job demands “will seriously challenge traditional [learning] establishments.” The report has a footnote that leads to a 1999 Department of Labor report which does not include any reference to the idea that 65% of children will take jobs that have not been invented.  In fact it says the opposite. “In the midst of the creation of these new high tech jobs, most current jobs will endure,” it says

This could be good news for the children currently at Yateley Manor. It means that they can indeed aspire to follow a career of their choice. As a young boy I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and work in property. I had grown up in a property world. I collected rent with him from tenants in his blocks of flats, helped clean the awful mess that some people left at the end of their tenancies, held the tape measure when he was measuring up properties for drawing plans and even helped with the drawings. A career in property was what I wanted. It is funny how things work out but I have never been happier with my career choice.

A report from the BBC this week stated, “By the age of seven, children are already facing limits on their future aspirations in work, according to a report from the OECD international economics think tank.” It described the “ingrained stereotyping about social background, gender and race.” The Director of Education and Skills at the OECD suggests there are only “minimal changes" in attitudes towards career options between the ages of 7 and 17. There is an urgency from the OECD to create “lightbulb moments” for children, where they can suddenly see a new direction for career path and not be governed by external pressures.

Lightbulb moments? Are we really basing the future of our employment market and world trading on the effectiveness of visits to schools by a range of professions, enticing the children into a new way of thinking for their futures, at the age of 7? At Yateley Manor we are extremely grateful to the parents and other adults who offer their time to talk to the children about their jobs and we see this as an important element of learning moving forwards. But we must not rely on these opportunities to alter a child’s thinking for the future, nor would we necessarily want to.

The situation needs a more holistic approach, which is what we can achieve in the Independent sector. As we do at Yateley Manor, children need to build confidence, to learn to collaborate and communicate effectively. They need to be curious and critical in order to challenge what is presented to them, not to accept the default position. These skills can be developed through a curriculum such as ours, where there is explicit reference to the journey of improvement in each area and opportunities are planned to allow children to address their own individual needs. We build confidence in children by opening their eyes to new opportunities and supporting them to succeed. We build curiosity by modelling the asking of questions and keeping an open mind when facing new challenges. Collaboration develops in children at Yateley Manor through regular group tasks and the celebration of effective teams, in any area of the curriculum. Communication is a strong focus of the school and a visit to any public event will confirm the success of the children in this area. All of this gives the children the incentive to question their thinking and that of others.

On Friday this week Christina Koch and Jessica Meir floated feet-first out of the International Space Station’s (ISS) Quest airlock, tasked with replacing a failed power control unit. It was the first all-female space walk. I wonder at which point they decided to buck the trend and consider such a feat. Was it a visit from an astronaut at the age of seven that made the difference or did they, in fact, simply have the confidence to follow their curiosity and think critically?

Confidence…..curiosity…..collaboration…..communication…..critical thinking

Your Child ~ Their Journey ~ Our Focus


Robert Upton