Future skill sets

Skills Needed by Our Students to be Prepared for the Future

The pandemic has changed the way we live and work overnight.

As many of us are still working from home fully or with reduced office hours, we are left to wonder what our world might look like after the dust eventually settles down. There’s a lot of unknown factors on how society will change, how the subsequent health and economic crises will evolve, and what mindset changes will arise. It’s extremely unlikely that things will just go back to exactly the way they were before.

The workplaces are likely to change, and with it, the skills companies will require. Pandemic opened a way for novel job opportunities to appear in the market, and quite a few of their skills differ from our market-standard skillset valuation focus. How can you make sure you coach and build your students' skill sets to navigate in this  competitive job market?

A report by Deloitte Access Economics considers two-thirds of all jobs by 2030 will be made up of soft-skill-intensive occupations, so developing and enhancing these skills is key.

Here are the top five in-demand skills according to the two leading recruiters:

1. Resilience

As the pandemic has presented employees with various trials, employers are looking for people who are flexible enough to adjust to different situations and handle setbacks.

How to demonstrate resilience: Identifying and talking about the capacity to recover from situations and adapt is a very valuable boost. Use the lockdown experience for your benefit, for example - prepare the students with the questions, what did you do, how you stayed productive, how you dealt with unexpected and gruelling circumstances.

2. Confidence in using technology

IT literacy has been important for about a decade, but almost all businesses suddenly had to integrate new technologies due to the pandemic. Hence, giving rise to demand for technoid professionals, who are familiar with teleconferencing, collaboration platforms, file sharing, remote learning if to name a few.

How to demonstrate your technological aptitude: Make sure that your student has  present-day knowledge and skill sets because technology is evolving at such a rapid pace. Identify what technologies they are using, how it is used and how they assist your work (to boost productivity, cut down on your day-to-day activities and to support teamwork).

3. Agility

The pandemic showed us that the world can change dramatically and very quickly. Therefore, hiring managers are looking for employees who can be productive in a borderless environment without necessarily having a written process to follow.

How to demonstrate your agility: Job descriptions have undergone a metamorphosis, coach the students to mention how they’ve volunteered for assignments (tutoring, teaching assignments, internships).That’s a great way to highlight the skills of a team player who adapts easily to change.

4. Proactivity

Hiring managers are looking for employees who have been motivated in learning new skills or seeking out new opportunities. As it turns out, almost half of Australians learned new skills in 2020 that they wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for COVID-19.

How to demonstrate your proactiveness:  Coach the student to mention the  achievements separate from the job description. Write about the extra projects or tasks they picked up during lockdown. What did you achieve during your down time? If  the students are able to articulate this, it will show to the prospective employers that they are energetic and upbeat during a tough situation.

5. Emotional intelligence

During turbulent times, it’s crucial that companies have employees who can respond appropriately to the emotions of others – whether it’s their manager, colleagues, clients or customers.

How to demonstrate your emotional intelligence: Coach the students  to explain how they’ve taken the time to listen to the concerns of others. Discussing challenges that they’ve faced, what they’ve learnt from them and how they handled them. Demonstration of self-awareness and empathy are qualities that will help anyone to land a job and grow one’s career.


While the world of work demands continues to evolve, being able to demonstrate these five key skills will be an excellent start to ensuring the students skills are relevant. Investing in higher / professional qualification, will ensure that the students will evolve to meet the current and future employment demands

Author: Anju De Alwis, Managing Director, Ultimate Access Education. 

Anju is a high performance senior executive with international experience in large multinational corporations. Keynote speaker and founding director of the innovative education company Ultimate Access, based in the United Arab Emirates. Doctoral candidate researching the topic of Blockchain in Education. C-Suite experienced with both finance and Information technology in industries such as audit, consulting, manufacturing, telecommunication, media, oil/gas, airline and education. Experienced in developing networks and partnering with senior executives to carry out research activities related to emerging technologies such as Blockchain, AI, Machine Learning, alternate financing, DeFi (decentralised finance) with industry partnerships. I am a keynote speaker at many technology, finance and education conferences. A regular presenter at both industrial and academic conferences in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia.