iOi looks at ‘Future Skills’ and asks what young people need to succeed

iOi’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Henrietta Yoxall, reflects on imagination and the vital role it plays in ensuring young people are equipped for the future

Even with a crystal ball no one can predict what the future will look like. The term ‘future skills’ is a hot topic for everyone involved in the development of children – from teachers and politicians, through to employers. What skills will businesses be looking for in 20 years time and what kind of businesses will they be? We are in a period of global progression and innovation where a staggering 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.

What we do know is that formal education is simply not enough to prepare our young people to meet the challenges of adulthood. Here at the Institute of Imagination we believe that imagination is a key skill all children should be given the opportunity to explore and develop. Imagination is the cornerstone of creativity, problem solving, invention and innovation. A recent survey showed that young people (ages 12 to 25) top five dream jobs were: Writer, YouTube Sensation, Artist, Photographer and Clothes Designer – showing a rising interest in creativity and the opportunities provided by new technologies. Whatever the career path though – be it vocational, creative, or something else completely – imagination plays a key role and is a vital skill for future success.

Children are growing up with restricted horizons, chances to play, explore and experiment are increasingly limited. The Institute of Imagination, a non-profit organisation, already provides a range of activities for children enabling them to explore their imaginations. We will soon be unveiling our new Imagination Lab in Central London where young people and families can explore new ideas, invent new products and develop new skills for the future. This is something that schools, where learning is delivered in subject silos, and homes, with inevitable space and resource restrictions, aren’t able to offer.

The Imagination Lab will also form a key step in our strategy to understand and research the power of imagination and realise its potential for individuals, culture and UK plc. It will help us to shape the landscape and most importantly to develop those unexpected and currently untapped skills that young people will find invaluable as they grow up.

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