It’s been well documented that 2016 was a big year for a lot of people. When the Oxford Dictionary is declaring post-truth as the word of the year it seems the sentiment is pretty widespread. Comparatively, the word for 2015 was emoji. Says it all really.
In light of this, I’ve asked our FYA team for their thoughts on what’s going to be important in 2017, and got them to weigh in on some of the topics we hear the most about. Here are a few tangible FYA tidbits for the year ahead.
1. Is uni the only way to get the career you want?
Craig, National Director, Safe Schools Coalition of Australia
I was never the type of person who did well in typical school and uni environments. The idea of being cooped up in a room forced to learn wasn’t my cup of tea.
Instead, my most valuable career lessons have come from practical experiences — actually working with other people and collaborating to solve problems. Don’t get me wrong, understanding the theory behind things is vitally important. But it’s not everything!
2. Could Westworld become real world?
Nathan, YLab Learning Manager
In late 2016 I started using more and more software with artificial intelligence built in. This year, keep your eye out for chatbots that can do natural language processing.
A few friends of mine started buying and raving about their VR headsets last year. This year I expect that the VR industry will start to go mainstream, assuming the cost of headsets will fall and manufacturers such as Apple will release their own version that works with the iPhone.
3. What’s on earth is next in politics?
Shona, Media Manager
If last year was any indication — anything and everything could happen in the political arena in 2017. With elections scheduled for France and Germany, a new President taking the reigns in the USA and ongoing political tensions across the Middle East, 2017 is the great unknown. In the ‘post-truth’ world it helps to ensure we’re educating ourselves to understand the FACTS, how our political systems operate and the policies each side advocates for. Try not to see the world through tunnel vision — use your x-ray vision goggles instead!
4. Is everyone an entrepreneur now? What do I need to know if I want to be one?
Matt, Enterprise & Changemaking Manager
Resilience, drive and flexibility are the characteristics I most frequently see in successful entrepreneurs. Ideas and problems are not all that hard to come by, it’s the willingness to keep going and adapt when things get difficult that usually separates those that are successful and those that aren’t.
5. How do we become more socially conscious citizens?
Mary, YLab Learning Director
After the rollercoaster of 2016, this year there’s a renewed focus on resilience, sustainability and solidarity. All over the world we can see how we’re totally hyperconnected, globally minded and bloody impatient! This year we’ll get more woke, and see better use of what’s at our fingertips. Ya know, using the democratic power of the internet to the greatest advantage. It’s all about creating meaningful connections, learning new skills, sharing stories that matter, or organising a movement — all in the spirit of looking for common ground and creating good.
I see this stuff all the time in my work — giving young people new skills and real work opportunities to design their own future. It’s based on the belief the future is a public good we cultivate by choice, the more we give forward, the more we get back. 2017 is going to be all about it!
6. What should you actually study so you can get a job in the future?
Maggie, General Manager Public Affairs & Marketing
FYA has been doing loads of research into the future of work. Our most recent report, the New Work Mindset, showed that the skills you learn while studying and working are transferable to more jobs than you might realise.
This means that rather than focussing on one particular job to study, you should try and develop a diverse skillset that can be used for a range of jobs. Check out the report, there’s some really great info in it!
7. Work (work, work, work, work)
Wishna, People and Culture Team
Come into the workplace with an open mind. Learn new skills and develop old skills, be curious and ask lots of questions. This allows you to be flexible, adaptive and agile.
I’ve actually only had one full-time job but lots of roles within this workplace. Five to be precise! Accounting, HR, Facilitation, Office Management and Travel Management. Being open-minded has allowed me to gain so many skills in so many jobs.
8. Can I ever buy a house? Will I rent or live at home forever?
Rachel, Research Manager
I am one of the lucky ones as I recently bought my first home! But with a report released this week showing that Australia’s housing affordability is rated the third-worst in the world, owning a home is out of reach for a lot of young people in Australia.
In 2017 I hope we see housing affordability being prioritised by the Australian Government. Already this week, newly appointed NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said she will seek advice on tackling housing affordability in Sydney. I also think in 2017 we’ll see more positive moves in advocating to improve renters’ rights, as more people are renting than ever before. The Victorian government recently released options papers outlining potential reforms, whilst New South Wales has plans to rewrite their tenancy laws in 2017.
9. Is social media all bad?
Alex, Senior Manager, Special Projects & Innovation
Social media and digital channels actually help people participate in friendship-driven activity they wouldn’t otherwise feel comfortable to do so offline. But overuse can impact on our ability to concentrate. Recently I removed FB from my phone to restrict my use to after-work hours. Try it, maybe for a week, a month, or… forever!
10. How do I use the internet to become a better version of myself?
Lucy, Digital Coordinator
The internet is flooded with information, which is kind of a curse and a blessing. It’s really easy to forget that most platforms are building a bubble of media specifically tailored to you — there’s a reason nothing but dogs and memes show up in my suggested section.
All it takes is one step outside of that to start tapping into a new web of information. Do you mostly watch films and listen to music in English? Look for an international artist or project and explore their world of media, resources and touchpoints. Learning new things (and finding stuff worth looking at) is a process of bursting your own bubble.