19 Feb Changes Afoot!
I know that I’m getting older. It’s an obvious statement but there are more tell-tale signs emerging. It’s not just the additional grey hairs; the need to wear my short-sighted glasses on my head to read close up work (I knew that I should have invested in bi-focals) but also my slightly slower pace when running, particularly up hills. I also notice that I’m reflecting more now and perhaps also thinking more of the future. In reflecting, I have realised of late that nothing stands still for long- literally. Change is constant and happening all around us; sometimes deliberately engineered by us and sometimes by apparent chance but there are constant ebbs and flows, which I now try to embrace, as I believe it’s the line of least resistance.
In seeking to embrace technological changes, I am now a follower of Twitter, trying hard to keep up with the constant messaging received from a variety of groups and causes- it’s a great way of receiving snippets of news. One such group that has grabbed my attention is ‘futurologists’- those that study emerging trends and patterns and help businesses and individuals build the ‘future’ into their thinking and plans. They too remind us that change is happening at an ever-increasing pace and that new ‘disruptive’ technology will provide both challenges and opportunities.
Futurologists point to Artificial Intelligence (AI) or robots taking over a number of human activities and marvel at the capabilities of 3-D printers that can already build a house and one day soon will be able to manufacture human organs to order, for transplants! They go on to say that companies and individuals tend to make two important mistakes about the future: firstly, they believe that the future is next year or some date years ahead (and so put it off), when actually it’s here already and happening now (AI and 3-D printing being examples); and secondly, that none of this applies to them i.e. ignore these new technologies at your peril?! Personally, I wish the robot that takes over my job the best of luck with organising our staff Christmas parties- it’s so difficult to cater for all tastes within a strict budget but no doubt there’s an algorithm to work that out too (!)
Embracing technological trends is something that our own JACE learners can teach us a great deal about. Our Business and Administration apprentice Mollie (and yes, she is a real person!) assists our marketing team twice a week, offering feedback and advice on our social media. Being part of a generation that is accustomed to the fast-paced digital world from an early age, our learners are unfazed by joining the online “conversation” of Twitter, Facebook and the like. As an employer, you too can embrace the future and recruit an apprentice who can bring a natural fearlessness and fresh approach to your business. Why not play to their strengths and let them help you with your social media or customer service?
Personally, I like to keep one eye on the future but also one firmly in the present. Whilst it’s important to shape our lives and businesses on future aspirations, we need to be grounded and not lose sight of opportunities that present themselves. Two such examples spring to mind at JACE.
In keeping alert to present opportunities, we have recently recruited an assessor/trainer to our team in the field of Sports Development. This means that we are able to offer Study Programmes; Traineeships and Apprenticeships that can lead to a career in sports coaching within schools and other establishments, such as leisure centres and fitness clubs. The programme complements our existing and established areas of training in:
- Youth Work
- Health & Social Care
- Business and Administration
- Customer Service
- Leadership and Management
If you’d like to learn more, then please visit our website, which leads to our next change at JACE. With an eye to the future, we have been planning a new website to help better connect with all individuals that we work with, helping them more easily understand and navigate through the list of our services and programme offerings. The new website has recently been launched and while developing it we asked our own learners to test it, giving us valuable feedback on its usability. Now it is live, we would be delighted to receive any feedback, for which we are always grateful.
To finish, despite all the interest in AI and automation, which seems an inevitable part of all of our futures, at JACE we still very much believe in the need for human interaction. That’s why we would encourage you first to look at our new website but then come and see for yourselves what a positive and welcoming environment really looks like.