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Seizing The Future

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Last month I announced that I will be stepping down as chief executive of AGR next summer after 15 years in the role. More to the point I also celebrate, if that?s the right word, 50 year of employment.

Last month I announced that I will be stepping down as chief executive of AGR next summer after 15 years in the role. More to the point I also celebrate, if that's the right word, 50 year of employment.

I have been lucky. I have enjoyed every job I have had and my career has been on a linear incline. I doubt that with the ever accelerating pace of change those entering the world of work in 2012 will have the same experience. A career path will resemble crazy paving (look up the definition if you are under 30!) and as importantly, individuals will be expected to lay the path themselves.

Anniversaries are good time to reflect and when I look back to when I left college, things were very different to today:
- there were few computers and no one had one person had their own
- mobile phones were unheard of
- social networking was something you did in the pub or club
- the word 'globalisation' had not been invented
- only a small minority of women had a career
- working remotely was the preserve of polar explorers and astronauts
- school leavers sought a secure job and employers offered a 'job for life'
- 1 in 20 went to university.
How different the world was then and yet, to me, it seems like only yesterday.

Today's graduates have at least 50 years of work before them. It is impossible to accurately predict what jobs will look like in 2062, how people will work, what skills they will use, even where they will work. And that's the point. No one knows so young people need to be prepared to take control of wherever their career takes them. Many will have more than one career, perhaps several. A career will no longer be onwards and upwards. Those who will be secure are those who are employable as opposed to those who are employed. To be employable is to be in control of your own career, your own learning and your own life.

Being able to ride the waves of change and turn uncertainty into new opportunities is what will make the difference. The challenge for schools, universities and parents is how to develop that mindset in young people.

I looked forward to leaving education because I felt I had done with learning. How naive! I am still learning and as I move on into a portfolio career I will continue to pick up new skills and knowledge. Making sure that young people enjoy learning is the key to the economic success not just of individuals but of our country.

Carl Gilleard
CEO, The Association of Graduate Recruiters

carl gilleard grb author

Carl is the former CEO of AGR and former non-executive director of GRB. 

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