How can high school students prepare for their future careers?

“Change is the only constant in life, ”said the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus.

Written by

Sigrid Kenmuir

As the world changes and technology advances, there are careers that come and go. Part of what we do through iX LaunchPad is to prepare today’s high school students for the careers of the future.

Many jobs that existed 50 years ago no longer exist today. 

From the ‘50s to the ‘70s, milkmen delivered most milk to homes directly. Most newspapers were physically cut and pasted together on an actual drawing board by ad cutters before being sent to print. A crew of switchboard operators managed the exchange of calls to and from homes and businesses. 

All of these jobs have been made redundant through technology: home refrigerators, desktop publishing, and computerised exchanges. 

Today’s most in-demand jobs didn’t exist 10 years ago.

Careers in blockchain technology, online health, and data were all non-existent 10 years ago, along with careers in esports, online games and web development, and cloud computing to name just a few. And although education has worked extremely hard to keep up with the ever-increasing changes, it can be hard to do so. 

According to Forbes, some of the most in-demand jobs going into 2030 will be data scientists, security analysts, programmers, research analysts, and software developers among others in their top 30 jobs list. That’s why our iX LaunchPad courses cover careers such as Data Analytics, Web & Software Development, and other business-related subjects. 

How should high schoolers prepare themselves?

In industry, there is a growing importance placed on STEM subjects – that is science, technology, engineering, and math – both right now, and in the future. In fact, the American Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in STEM fields is projected to grow by 8.9% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

We would recommend all high school students, regardless of their current stream, get involved in STEM in some way, through extracurricular activities if necessary. Courses in software engineering and data analytics, or science and robotics clubs – find a way to get involved in STEM in whichever way works best for you.

What else should high school students look out for?

Studies by leading universities and the World Economic Forum show that there is a range of skills that help high school students prepare for their futures. These are known as 21st-century skills, and we have integrated them into all the courses we teach, both in college and high school.

  1. Problem-solving: A problem-solving mindset means that problems are approached with curiosity and a desire to embrace challenges rather than turn away from them.
  2. Collaboration: One of our partners – and one of the leading educational institutions in the world – Pearson, has come up with some of the most significant findings in teaching students how to collaborate. Collaboration means the ability to work with others, sometimes as a leader and at other times as a team member.
  3. Adaptability: These can be hard skills to define, but they cover comfort with change and unfamiliar circumstances and situations, as well as the ability to make effective decisions under pressure.

Our career exploration and micro-internship programme is designed to bridge the gap between high schoolers and their future careers. Each programme combines useful, practical skills in an interesting, future-focused career with all of the 21st-century skills listed above. Each student who takes an iX LaunchPad course has the opportunity to explore a career, work with an industry professional, and hone their 21st-century skills designed to prepare them for the world of work. 

The 21st-century skills we teach include:

  1. Learning skills: Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.
  2. Literacy skills: Information, media, and technological literacy.
  3. Life skills: Flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity, and social skills.

Skills like these can also be learned through involvement in debate clubs and science fairs, among other school activities. 

Our top 3 tips for high school students

  1. Internships: Students should consider internships and apprenticeships as a way to gain real-world experience and learn about the reality of working in different careers. These experiences can also be a great chance to network and make connections with people in the industry.
  2. Online learning: There are so many resources available online – both free and paid, short and long term – that can help students gain skills, and experience, and enhance both their university applications and future job applications.
  3. Community: When it comes to those college and job applications, admissions departments are always looking for ways to tell students apart. One very rewarding way to do so is to get involved in your community. Working with causes and organisations is an accessible way to get work experience and hone important skills in teamwork and leadership.

What’s next for iX LaunchPad?

In February, we’ll be offering Data Analytics to GEMS Education students as a four-week extra-mural activity. Download our Data Analytics career guide to find out more about this exciting and in-demand career.

Apply for the Term Two programme now; GEMS students are automatically accepted into the programme pending payment. We can’t wait to explore this incredible career with you, grow your STEM skills, and help you hone your 21st-century skills, too.

Sources

Forbes, BLS, WEForum, and Pearson.

Image sources

Header, 1, 2, 3, 4

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