Latymer hosts first ‘Future Skills’ debate on dynamics of 21 century workplace

The Head welcomed a packed Main Hall to Latymer Upper School's inaugural Future Skills event last week. Parents, alumni and pupils from Latymer and our partner schools gathered to hear a panel of Europe’s leading industry experts, entrepreneurs, investors, start-up specialists and academics discuss one of the big issues of our times – how will future careers be affected by new disruptive technologies?

Chaired by Tomaso Spingardi (Advisory Board, MIT Sloan School) the impressive line-up included: Massimo Della Ragione (Head of Investment Banking & Partner at Goldman Sachs); Riccardo Zacconi (CEO of King Digital Entertainment, creators of Candy Crush Saga); Rahmyn Kress (MD Telecomms, Media & Technology, Accenture) and Paul Ayres (Chairman & Founder, Whisper Media Group. Founder, Fairtrade Mining Ltd).

In a fascinating and lively debate, the panellists shared their business experiences and discussed what were they looking for in the next generation of employees. There were points of advice on which they all agreed:

- Resilience and creativity are key qualities for success. Massimo used sport to illustrate how the individual’s effort in trying to improve his or her performance is more important to character building than is ‘being number one’. He encouraged Latymerians not to be scared of failure, but to learn from it and keep trying to succeed.

- Careers are becoming increasingly ‘fluid’ so employees need to be flexible and adapt to differing roles within a company, rather than sticking to just one.

- In their quest to keep abreast of the digital age, students should not forget the human element in communication. As Paul said, we need to ‘interact with people, not just with screens’.

- Rahmyn continued on this theme with advice on how potential candidates could stand out from the crowd; ‘I think there’s an increasing lack of personality…. The skills of tomorrow, in a differentiating world, will be the interaction with people – how do you communicate? People are forgetting that skill.’

- Along with interpersonal skills, it’s a given that technical skills are now necessary – Riccardo advised students to learn to code; ‘so that when you have a tech idea you can implement it yourselves. Once it’s on a mobile device, the world can see it tomorrow.’

- Networking is important. Rahmyn called upon the Latymer community to help mentor pupils, be it through offering advice or internships Such partnerships are hugely beneficial to both parties. Pupils gain experience whilst offering product testing for the companies they work for. (email for details on how you might support the Future Skills initiative).

The last word went to the Chair. Paulo urged pupils to take their studies seriously. He agreed with his panellists that in an ever-changing working environment, a broad knowledge base in employees will continue to be fundamental to companies and that good qualifications will give tomorrow’s employees more options and choice; ‘study more, because you just don’t know what it’s going to be like tomorrow. Be prepared for the unknown and when it comes, adapt as quickly as you can.’

Follow the debate at #LatFS16

Click here to see the unedited film of the full debate

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