Imagine… you are heading into your final year of high school

Imagine… you are heading into your final year of high school

Kathryn Anderson

By the year 2020 you will leave the world of schooling behind and stretch forward into adult life. And beyond school, you will step into a world that can no longer deliver on a promise of a stable, ongoing career. The school leaver of today is likely to have around six career changes over the course of their working life.

In a VUCA economy, characterised by its Volatility, Uncertainty, Change and Ambiguity, some 40% of Australian jobs will likely be impacted by automation. An increasingly globalised workforce sees international workforce competition, and Australians work internationally, virtually or in person. The gig-economy equals multiple types of employment, for varying periods of time. For our school leavers, the world beyond secondary is full of opportunity and risk. For the rest of us, we are already immersed in this highly fluid workforce.

So, what does this mean for the University and its role? Our universities have always been engines for innovation. The opportunity is now to leverage the assets of our universities to spark entrepreneurship and increase enterprise skills in our graduates, to generate the next wave, not only of big thinkers, but of big doers. Entrepreneurial mindset, and an innovation skillset are the front edge of this new wave in higher education.

And it makes good sense. Mindset attributes such as open-mindedness, agility, risk appetite and lifelong learning coupled with skillsets in opportunity identification, critical thinking, digital literacy, and solutions architecture go much further than immediate employability, to future-proof careers for the graduates coming out of our universities. Universities have traditionally focused on teaching field-specific content in a broadly theory-to-application process. The reality of our future working lives is that we will need to re-educate and re-skill, in a cycle of doing and learning, learning while doing and doing while developing. As our careers become lifelong portfolios of achievement, our universities must respond.

Imagine. A university where your degree is itself, a portfolio. You tailor your education to your skills and to your work goals, thinking about your potential outlets for remuneration that fit with your life circumstances. You have access to micro-credentials, bite sized learnings that build on each other to progressively create a meshed skillset. You take courses in enterprise and innovation, learning to spot opportunities and build the business case to bring them to fruition. There is startup support, and your graduate position may be as Founder of your own business. You graduate not only with the content knowledge of your degree, whether that be engineering, art, healthcare or other, you have also developed a mindset that embraces opportunity, and a skillset to navigate a constantly changing economy.

Serial Intrapreneur, Business Model Catalyst and Deputy Director Enterprise at New Venture Institute, Kathryn Anderson works alongside stakeholders to align needs and vision, creating programs, partnerships and connections that move strategy into tactics. In her role at the New Venture Institute, she has driven the growth of NVI’s industry face, delivered the award-winning Icebreaker event with $2.9mill of economic impact, and crafted NVI’s first regional business incubator, eNVIsion Limestone Coast, connecting the region with Tonsley and beyond, and winning more than $1mill in startup funding. Kathryn is an occasional author with a book, Engaging Australia in print, and is a regular speaker at conferences across Australia and internationally.

She is passionate about supporting people to reach their goals, through involvement with SheEO as an Activator, CSIRO as a Co-Chair of WiN Book Club, UIIN as an ASEAN founder, and through her personal advocacy

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