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Ford helps identify 100 ‘jobs of the future’

Deakin, Griffith Universities work with Ford Oz to predict jobs that don’t yet exist

25 Jul 2019

IN CONTRAST to seemingly endless lists of jobs that will soon no longer exist due to rapid technological, societal and economic shifts, a collaboration between Deakin University, Griffith University and Ford Australia has identified 100 new occupations that could emerge in the coming decade.


The report, titled ‘100 Jobs of the Future’, describes roles addressing a number of upcoming challenges including an ageing population, climate change, and ensuring artificial intelligence does not get out of control.


Fields that are now gaining traction – such as robotics, space tourism, 3D printing, blockchain, big data, drones and the sharing economy – will be a key source of these new lines of work, as will advances in agriculture, biotech and waste management.


In addition to the report is an online quiz designed to help people understand how their personality and skill set fits into the report’s envisaged future work landscape, by narrowing down and presenting suitable occupations.


Ford Asia Pacific design director Max Wolff said: “There’s an exciting future ahead for those who want to challenge existing systems and reshape the way we will all move around.”


However, just four of the 100 job description summaries across 11 defined categories include the word ‘vehicle’.


According to the report, an ‘automated transit system troubleshooter’ will “address potential problems that occur in a transit system almost entirely comprised of autonomous self-driving vehicles”.


Meanwhile an ‘autonomous vehicle profile designer’ is responsible for customising self-driving vehicles “to suit the individual needs and tastes of the vehicle owner”.


Backing up these two roles will be ‘robot mechanics’ with the skills to “maintain robots and autonomous vehicles to keep them running smoothly”.


Finally, agriculture is already beginning to adopt autonomous vehicles, so ‘farm safety advisors’ will in future be ensuring that “autonomous vehicles and agricultural robots have the latest safety software installed, and that bodies of water such as dams are fenced off electronically”.


With around 1600 of its 2000 employees in Australia engaged in roles related to engineering and design, Ford supported this research project as part of a broader effort to boost education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM).


The company put up one of its driver assistance technologies engineers, Louise Nance, as an example as her current role did not exist when she joined Ford as a graduate in 2015.


“I hope this report will inspire and support youth to find fulfilling, rewarding careers, and ensure a pipeline of talent for Aussie innovation,” said Ms Nance.


“Our business is transforming – with connected cars, autonomous vehicles and new ridesharing models on the horizon.”


Many of the listed future jobs are in the field of artificial intelligence, which along with robotics is feared as one of the biggest job-killing technologies. But Deakin University professor and chair of science education Russell Tytler said to keep pace as the economy changes, humans would “need to work with machines in new ways, rather than compete with them for jobs”.


Cross-disciplinary abilities, collaboration and problem solving were identified as important in many of the 100 future jobs, along with creative and social intelligence, manual dexterity, an entrepreneurial mindset and interpersonal skills.


Griffith University professor and deputy director of teaching and curriculum transformation Ruth Bridgstock said the research project predicted “a more complex and changing world of work, but one where young people will be able to find or create exciting work opportunities that make the most of their interests and skills”.


Deakin University science, technology and environmental education lecturer Peta White added that the project’s aim was to “help parents, educators and industry professionals support the next generation in their future career ambitions”.


“With a boom in emerging industries and new technologies such as robotics, biotechnology and artificial intelligence, many of the jobs today’s younger generation will do don’t even exist yet,” she added.

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