The future of work is changing. Artificial intelligence, robots, automation, the ‘gig’ economy, climate change and social/political movements are just some factors that will influence and shape the world of work.
Today, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we already recognize the need for flexibility and continued personal development. And in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, jobs are going to continue to change in a fundamental way.
Preparing for this shift is critical. Our future is in our hands, and we must harness our potential to contribute positively to society.
Overview: Future Ready Talent Framework
So how can you prepare for this future we can’t yet predict? What skills are essential to be “future ready”?
Enter the University of Waterloo’s Future Ready Talent Framework (FRTF). The FRTF is a research-backed tool to help students, employers and educators understand the key competencies we all need to navigate the future of work and learning.
Waterloo has programs to support all learners, at any stage of a lifelong-learning journey. Our programs are designed build resilience and adaptability. We help learners acknowledge what they’re good at and what kinds of challenges they want to solve, all within a richly-supported environment.
How do we know what skills are essential?
We developed this competency framework through conducting extensive research into existing frameworks, studies and reports, and validated our findings with our network of employers, students and fellow educators.
Waterloo's Future Ready Talent Framework
The FRTF profiles four sets of competencies with a total of 12 competencies that are expected to be in demand in the emerging global workplace. By understanding these competencies and how to cultivate them, you can take a fresh look at your career direction, hiring practices, management structures and educational programs through a future-oriented lens.
Expanding field-specific knowledge and skills is critical for success in the future workplace, especially in the midst of a world where technology is predicted to become smarter than it ever has before. From academic programming, self-directed learning, workplace and extra-curricular experiences, all workers will need to continually expand their expertise.
The ability to develop one’s self has always been essential to success but we’re expecting it to take on even more importance in the future of work. All of us will need to be lifelong learners – constantly upskilling and reskilling. And we’ll need to know how those competencies translate from one context to another as we navigate our careers.
Working effectively with others has always been imperative. The future of work will require cross-cultural agility to work effectively and build positive relationships - especially in an increasingly diverse and globalized context.
Diverse experiences are considered by some to be the seeding ground for innovation and effective problem solving. A complex world filled with “wicked problems” requires people who can recognize incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements and develop innovative approaches to resolve them.
Be a lifelong learner
Curiosity and lifelong learning are key to career success. In fact, a recent Waterloo study shows that those who adopt a lifelong learning mindset see greater performance, more promotions, and higher job satisfaction.
Learning happens at all ages. Whether just out of high-school, nearly graduating university, or returning to upskill for your career, Waterloo’s rich academic programming and professional development opportunities prepare you for success in the workplace.
Are you a current student?
Visit the Centre for Career Action website for more resources and actions you can take to develop your skillset and be future ready. You’ll find opportunities for action, including the chance to:
- Develop your competencies. Begin recording and reflecting on competency development, set goals and get access to the FRTF Resource Hub to learn about on-campus opportunities for competency development.
- Enroll in the Digital Skills Fundamentals course. Learn the skills most needed in business today and tomorrow through mini-courses that will introduce you to the fundamental concepts of website development, digital and video marketing, and problem analysis.
- Identify and articulate your skills. Enroll into the Skills Identification and Articulation Workshop to learn how to identify the skills you are developing in an outside of the classroom and develop strategies for expressing these skills to target audiences, such as potential employers.
- Enroll into a career development course. All students can enroll (for free!) in PD1: Career fundamentals. In PD1, you will learn how to refine your résumé writing and interview skills, and explore how career goals align with your values, skills and interests.
- Access personalized support. There are a number of one-on-one supports you can access to get the support you need. Connect with an advisor by booking an appointment or attending a drop-in session.
Are you already in the workforce?
Visit Waterloo’s Professional Development website for opportunities to upskill or reskill for your current or future role. Choose from 150+ online courses in many popular topics, with monthly start dates. You can select a single course or work towards one many certificates (including the new advanced online certificate in Data Science).
Recruit and retain talent with the skills you need
You might find yourself busier than ever as your organization adapts and changes during COVID-19. In an uncertain workforce, knowing how to identify, recruit and retain candidates with the right skills to help is more important than ever to future-proof your company.
Waterloo can help
- Partner with us for customized insight about your talent. Waterloo has the largest co-operative education program in the world, giving Waterloo’s Work-Learn Institute (WxL) access to the largest dataset of student and employer data to study the future of work.
- Gain insight to manage the workforce of the future. Our research showed that understanding the values of next generation talent might be the most important thing you can learn to recruit, motivate and retain them effectively. Find out what these values are, and more, in our management guide.
- Bring young talent into your organization early. This could be a great time for you to hire co-op students to support your work. We’ve even developed Digital Skills Fundamentals courses for our co-op students to expand their skillset in digital and video marketing, sales, problem-solving and web design. They’re ready to support your business, whether you’ve got an established digital platform, recently gone digital or are planning to soon.
- Dedicated support team to assist with hiring strategies and recruitment. Our account managers come with industry and geographic recruiting knowledge to help attract the student candidate that would be the right fit for your organization.
Join more than 7,100 other employers who have tapped into the value of co-op students from Waterloo.
Tap into 60+ years of experience
Work-integrated learning (WIL) was one of the University of Waterloo’s first innovations. What started with a cohort of 74 co-op students in 1957 has grown to more than 22,000 students enrolled in co-op today, with WIL opportunities available to all 31,000+ undergraduate students in any program.
Learn from our expertise
Waterloo’s Work-Learn Institute (WxL) is a living lab based on decades of future-proven experience as leaders in WIL. WxL is the only institute in the world dedicated to research on co-operative education and other forms of WIL. Founded in 2002 on the basis that, with the largest co-operative education program in the world, we have the largest dataset to study, understand and continue to advance its practice. You can engage with:
- Insights and analytics: Waterloo has the largest co-operative education program in the world, giving WxL access to the largest dataset of student and employer data to study the future of work. WxL can also do custom co-op/WIL workplace research and program reviews.
- Webinars and customizable workshops: WxL is an incubator for WIL innovation, testing new models and ideas to continue to evolve the practice of WIL to meet the changing demands of the labour market. We share these insights via online and in-person presentations on a regular basis.
Email us today to leverage this one-of-a-kind resource and help future-proof your organization.