Report at Davos endorses Primary Futures

Schools Industry Partnership, Ngaire Gardiner

On Wednesday 23 January, the OECD and the UK-based charity Education and Employers launched a new report at Davos during the World Economic Forum:  Envisioning the Future of Education and Jobs: Trends, Data and Drawings.

The report looks at the future of education and jobs and the challenges and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The results indicated that the mismatch between current skills and the needs of the labour market has its roots in primary school and that giving all children, regardless of gender and social background, the same chance to meet professionals in a variety of fields is the key to widening their view of the world of work.

A visit to a Davos primary school was organised for World Economic Forum delegates, to emphasise the importance of engaging with young children to help ignite their ambitions.

“We now know that this mismatch is set at a young age and heavily influenced by socio-economic background, gender and the role models seen by children,” says Nick Chambers, CEO of Education and Employers. “This means we need to engage with children early on to help inspire their interests and career aspirations. They are our future workforce and key to the success of the fourth industrial revolution.”

To accompany the report, the OECD also produced a short film:


In the global Drawing the Future report that UK Education & Employers (the charity that runs Inspiring the Future UK) launched at Davos last year, more than 20,000 primary school children were asked to draw the job they wanted to do when they grow up. Through Inspiring the Future Australia primary school students around Australia were a part of this number. 

Of those 20,000, only 1% knew about a job from someone visiting their school. 36% based their careers aspirations on someone they know with 45% being influenced by TV, film and radio.

The findings of the report also highlighted how gender stereotyping exists from the age of seven. Over four times the number of boys wanted to become engineers compared to girls with nearly double the number of boys aspiring to become scientists compared to girls.  Conceptions of traditional femininity specifically ideas around ‘caring and nurturing’ may explain why two and half times the number of girls wanted to become doctors compared to boys. Measures of disadvantage also played a part. In less disadvantaged areas, boys are more likely to choose engineer over mechanic with girls, likely to choose architect rather than hairdresser.

These findings reveal worrying things about the future for our children and also highlight opportunities for us to start making a positive impact for our young people in Australia and across the world. 

We're always looking for more people to volunteer with Inspiring the Future Australia to help making this impact! Just one hour a year can make an enormous impact on children, especially those from more disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Join the campaign as a volunteer and tick the Primary Futures box to get involved in Primary Schools!

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