The future of work: How higher education is adapting to meet business needs

The future of work has been a major discussion point amongst businesses in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic changing how many of us approach work. Therefore, it’s no surprise that higher education is also adapting to meet the changing needs of the workplace.

How higher education is adapting to meet business needs

As businesses evolve at a rapid pace, driven by new technologies and shifting consumer demands, higher education institutes are facing the pressing need to adapt to ensure their graduates are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in the workplace of tomorrow. 

As businesses become more automated and digitised while still requiring a need for innovation, higher education institutions need to spearhead efforts to bridge the gap between academia and industry. Adaptability is key in this new era; learning, unlearning, and relearning becomes paramount as industries undergo rapid transformation. Recognising this, higher education institutions must foster a lifelong learning culture, empowering students with knowledge and the tools to navigate change confidently. At Oxford Business College, we’ve worked to adapt to changing business needs and prioritise the best teaching for our learners by adopting the strategies below.

Teaching real world skills

Traditional academia is important for higher education institutions. However, as industries are increasingly driven by collaboration and innovation, the importance of interdisciplinary programs which blend academia with the teaching of real-world skills (such as financial literacy and creative problem-solving) cannot be understated. Developing these skills prepares graduates for the multifaceted challenges of the future workplace. We present students with real-world business problems and ask them to apply their learnings to develop solutions. This hands-on approach not only enhances understanding but also helps students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, essential for any future business professional.

Hands-on learning: Bridging theory with practice

Similarly to developing real-world skills, hands-on experience is invaluable. Internships, industry projects and simulations offer insights and skills essential for workplace success.  By integrating experiential learning opportunities into their curriculum, institutions ensure graduates are not just academically proficient but are also workplace-ready. We regularly invite successful entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and business professionals to share their experiences and insights with our students. These sessions offer invaluable advice, inspire students, and provide an understanding of the latest industry trends and challenges.

Embracing technology in education

Constant advancements in technology can revolutionise education, from virtual classrooms to AI-driven personalised learning experiences. Institutions that embrace these innovations enhance accessibility, cater to diverse learning styles, and prepare students for the digital-centric workplaces of tomorrow. Recognising the importance of technology in modern education, we invested money in incorporating cutting-edge technologies into our classrooms. We envision our classrooms to be smart, interactive spaces that allow students and teachers to engage in innovative and effective learning methods.

Nurturing empathetic leaders

While technical skills are essential, soft skills such as emotional intelligence and resilience are equally as important. Institutions must prioritise the cultivation of these skills alongside technical proficiency, ensuring graduates are empathetic leaders capable of navigating the complexities of human interaction in an interconnected world.

The importance of partnerships

Collaboration between academia and industry is imperative. By fostering robust partnerships, exchanging insights, and co-designing educational experiences, institutions can ensure graduates are not just equipped to meet current business needs but are empowered to shape the future of work themselves. For example, our partnership with The University of West London helps us offer students further education through integrated programmes. 

In conclusion, the future of work demands a shift in higher education in order to prepare for the changes in the workplace. By embracing adaptability, interdisciplinary approaches, experiential learning, technological integration, and the cultivation of soft skills, institutions can prepare graduates to thrive in the dynamic world that lies ahead. Through collaboration with industry partners, higher education can play a pivotal role in shaping a workplace ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s workplace.

Sarwar Khawaja
Sarwar Khawaja

Share via
Copy link