NuMinds Builds 21st Century Thinkers

In the industry write-up below, NuMinds Business Director for Latin America Tarek Hamdan addresses a growing consensus that the rapidly evolving workforce demands not just newer, sharper “hard skills,” but a re-emphasis and integration of those underestimated “soft skills.” In a world buzzing with concepts like “AI” and “machine learning” we can forget that our greatest asset is often what makes us most human: our emotional intelligence (EQ), empathy, and ability to adapt and innovate beyond known rules and structures. This is no secret to those on the front edge of education research, or to the United Nations or National Education Agency (NEA), whose endorsed studies of the evolving landscape have led to a list of 21st century thinking skills:

  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication

Traditional STEM programs designed to emphasize hard skills often neglect these crucial thinking skills, while holistic, STEAM-based approaches like those embraced at NuMinds BEGIN with the understanding that narrative, empathy, and engagement are the predecessors to any successful STEM or STEAM learning and, in turn, the key to addressing the thought-provoking questions and challenges posed by Tarek below.

As a parent, educator, or young person facing the shifting demands and pressures posed by new technologies, ask yourself what role an inspired, unique approach to education focused on open-ended problem solving and 21st century skills can play in preparing you for the changing world.

Ben Koch, CEO, NuMinds Enrichment

Solving an Enlarging Skills Gap in the Digital Age

by Tarek Hamdan, Business Director, NuMinds Latin America

With technology advancement on the rise, the workforce is struggling to adapt to the new needs that
stem from rapid change across the globe.

The shortage of skilled talent and the loss of traditional jobs to intelligent automation affects individuals
and economies around the globe. But most executives are still using traditional hiring and training
strategies and are falling short of re-training and re-skilling their labor force.

Others are employing new tactics to close the skills gap: applying analytics to analyze and predict skill
supply and demand (such as TrenData’s AI-powered people analytics platform), partnering up with
outside organizations to acquire talent (such as TechGenies’ IT staff augmentation capabilities), and
leveraging emerging schools and educational programs such as code schools, STEAM emphasis, or
summer camps and after-school programming like NuMinds Enrichment. Often, it’s the harder-to-train
skills that are lacking, as many executives admit that soft skills have surpassed digital skills in
importance, according to a recent IBM study.

Solving the skills shortage is undoubtedly challenging, and to do so requires immediate, collaborative
action from industry, education, public policy and economic development leaders, considering
behavioral skills begin forming in childhood and extend through employees’ working lives.
Today, executives look for employees who integrate both hard digital skills and soft skills in their
activities. Employees are expected to communicate effectively, solve problems, and think creatively and
critically to innovate using new technologies and to act on insights drawn from the massive amounts of
data available now.

Already, the culture within organizations is shifting, with industry leaders endorsing the development of
vital new skills for the digital era. Organizations are reshaping the way they manage talent and skills to
successfully navigate this new environment. Even so, no one can argue that there is a skills gap – in fact,
experts warn the time needed to close the gap through traditional training is 10 times more today than
what it used to be just 4 years ago, according to research from the IBM Institute for Business Value
Performance Data and Benchmarking Survey.

Based on their recent study, IBM recommends executives place developing employee skills at the
forefront of the organization, by personalizing skills development at scale and delivering transparency
into the skills of individual employees, according to the IBM Institute for Business. Also, executives
should leverage new partnerships to reach a broader selection of talent, IBM advises, both near-shore
and off shore, as well as utilizing platforms that integrate data and insights across the employee
lifecycle.

All these recommendations from this industry behemoth place AI in the center as the key tool in closing
the skill gap, and more organizations may soon look to emerging technologies to solve the growing skills
shortage.

What is your organization doing?

Tarek Hamdan, Business Director, NuMinds Latin America

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate 21st century learning into your educational program, contact us:

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