I know only too well how broken the education-to-work journey is in Britain – and why we need new ways to tackle the problem. I grew up on free school meals and left school at 16 to find work. I was fully aware that people from relatively privileged backgrounds had a network and opportunities inaccessible to young people like me. Unfortunately, the education system is no longer able to provide the skills that every young person needs to work. I think innovative technologies (especially Web3 and the metaverse) are creating new opportunities to level the playing field and help kids from backgrounds like mine find better paying jobs.
The COVID pandemic prompted me to focus on how Web3 technology could bridge education and employment for young people. During the COVID shutdowns, young people lost their jobs much faster than other age groups, but at the same time there were great, well-paying jobs like software engineers that companies were struggling to fill. . I’ve had enough of hearing young people being portrayed as the lost generation – we need to make the effort to close this gap.
It helps that we are on the verge of a turning point in terms of the relationship between technology and employment. The World Economic Forum predicts that 85 million traditional jobs will be destroyed by technologies such as artificial intelligence by 2025, replaced by new jobs. Rather than training young people for jobs that will soon no longer exist, we need to develop young people for the roles that will exist. This is where innovative small businesses, which focus on the skills really needed – like what I call the “builder economy” where people work with AI tools – can help young people acquire the skills they need.
Why the education system is failing
Traditional education cannot keep pace with rapidly accelerating technological roles. By their very nature, governments want jobs, and they want people to have the right skills, because they want taxes from jobs. But if I look at my family, my mom, myself, and my son all learned pretty much the same program that’s been around since the sixties. Since 2008, major corporations have dropped their graduate programs, so there is no longer a clear path for college to work, and students are now left with huge debts. We’re in a new world where there will be a billion tech jobs required by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum, and there’s a huge skills gap because education systems can’t keep up. We need a new paradigm.
In the mainstream education system, there is not enough discussion of entrepreneurial skills and virtually no awareness of the range of careers available in areas such as the Metaverse and Web3. This is where innovative education companies can help, partnering with educational institutions to help young people understand the jobs that are out there. In our work at hundo, we increase the general education of young people with the employability skills they will need for the future of work.
Web 2.0 versus Web 3.0
The promise of an open metaverse offers the opportunity to reverse some of the more hierarchical and centralized aspects of Web 2.0. There are already thousands of vacancies in Web3, and every company is struggling to fill the vacancies. It’s not just roles within tech companies, it’s across industries. Even nursing jobs now require people to use AI tools through iPads. For young, tech-savvy Gen-Zers, this presents an opportunity. What is needed is a dialogue between employers, educational institutions, young people and innovative educational enterprises to bridge the gap between young digital natives and those jobs that organizations are struggling to fill.
This gap – between what the education system provides and what young people actually need – is a space where innovative Web3 ideas such as “learn and earn” and the open metaverse can thrive. Young people need a solution where they can learn the skills they need and where employers can find the entry-level candidates they need. Over time, this will help employers create a more diverse and future-ready workforce.
For Gen-Z, the future may look bright, with millions of opportunities opening up in areas like Web3 and the Metaverse. But young people increasingly need to look outside an education system they currently lack – and embrace innovative ways to learn the skills they need to thrive in this new world.