Future of Work: Innovation Skills as the Missing Link for Employability
Keywords:Curriculum design, employability, entrepreneurship, innovation, STEM, student career literacy, work-integrated learning
AbstractWhile innovation is critical for the workforce of tomorrow, the curricula of current science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs do not sufficiently prepare graduates with innovation skills for the future of work increasingly characterized by automation and artificial intelligence. This quantitative, longitudinal study measures key transferable skills in work integrated learning (WIL) students, before and after their industry placement. It found that students were deficient in important innovation skills needed for employability in the future workplace including creativity/lateral thinking, entrepreneurship/ intrapreneurship, influencing others and conflict resolution. The study also demonstrates how feedback on transferable skills development could be an effective tool used for professional development of students, improvement of their innovation and employability skills and increased awareness of an innovative mindset. The study offers implications for educators in nurturing innovation skills though enhanced curriculum development and delivery, robust measurement and feedback to students.