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“The future is now”, says Jim Carroll at the WorldSkills Leaders Forum

15 August 2015

Technology will be the most impacting factor in the production chain in the next decades, said Jim Carroll, a world-class futurist on innovation and industry trends, as he remembered the scenario imagined in The Jetsons cartoon (1962). This statement was made during his speech on Thursday, 13 August, at the WorldSkills Leaders Forum, which is part of the WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 Conference Programme.

The overall topic was, “The future of skills development and excellence”, which explored perspectives for the future and potential in the world through the power of skills.

“The world we live in today is rapidly changing. We have science fiction at our finger tips”, said Carroll as he mentioned the number of people in the audience who raised their hands when he asked if they carried a Smartphone.

The futurist explained that today it is possible to see technological progress through tools like 3D printers and Google Maps, for example, as well as the relevant developments achieved in science, especially in medicine.

“The year 2025 is starting now. In the world today there are 350 huge companies preparing for this new reality,” said Carroll while mentioning innovations from companies like Google and Tesla.

Sustainability highlighted

Jim Carroll also highlighted the importance of water, since countries like India will more than double their demand for this resource by 2020, due to an increase of their industrial capacity.

“In the future we will have devices in our homes that will help us reduce water consumption by 40%, and energy by 15 to 25%,” said Carroll, as he mentioned technologies for optimization of water use, such as Nexus and Water.

Among other forecasts, he mentioned that around 2020, cars will have a Siri button that will control all of its activities. “Computer screens will be part of reality. Sensors and LED networks will promote interactive activities between drivers and cars. Cars will be self-driven,” he explained.

As an example, Carroll mentioned the Swedish car manufacturer, Volvo, which predicts several autonomy elements in vehicles, such as collision prevention and, 360 degree spatial self-awareness and GPS systems.

Carroll said that high-speed technology advances would inevitably affect the labour world. “We will quickly observe the appearance of innovative knowledge and fragmentation of many professional skills. We will be very specific in our jobs,” said Carroll.

By 2050, 70% of the worldwide population will live in cities, he said. In 2030, Africa will no longer be a major rural continent, as part of a process called Fast Grow in Urban Agriculture, with an increase in vertical infrastructure for agricultural purposes.

Carrol also mentioned the “Internet of Things”. In the future, garages will open according to how close the house owner is; ventilation systems will turn on and off as we lay on our beds; and barbecue grills will prepare the meat according to the cook’s preference.

According to Carrol, these technology advances will be even greater with a new generation of human beings. “They will be connected, collaborative, change-focused and entrepreneurial.”

Carrol also explained that a big change in business models is on its way, which will require new labour force. The number of self-employed people with job security will increase by over 50%, he said. “There will be new careers and micro-careers, with specific knowledge.”

Carrol advised the audience to look to the future. “Think big, start small, and move quickly. Observe, think, change, risk, eliminate, try, question, grow and make it happen.”

At the end of his speech, Carrol greeted WorldSkills International. “Your work is great, you keep up with trends related to skills all over the world.”

WorldSkills President, Simon Bartley, thanked Jim Carrol for being present. “Thank you Jim! It is extraordinary to think about the possibilities that WorldSkills will have in 2025. We will really think big and move on”, he said.

The São Paulo State Governor, Geraldo Alckmin, attended the event and made a speech. “It is an honor for São Paulo to host WorldSkills Competition, held for the first time in Latin America. The event promotes creativity commitment to education among young professionals, that will be applied to strategic areas like industry, commerce and services”, he said.

“We are in an ever changing world. New professions are quickly growing. In São Paulo, we already have vocational education integrated with high school. As a nation, we should promote research in strategic fields and unite vocational education with labor market needs”, he concluded.

Important Debates

After the speech, Jim Carrol participated in a debate with five former WorldSkills Competition champions. The meeting was mediated by BBC journalist Stephanie McGovern.

Here are some of the main conclusions from the debate:

“Several changes and new tools came up in the last 10 years. Today, we use computer programs to design landscape projects.”

Lucq Post, Landscape Gardening, Netherlands.

“We have an ocean of opportunities. People are surprised with the quantity of skills presented at WorldSkills Competition. It is good to be a part of this”

Victor Simon, Mechanical Engineering, France.

“It is interesting to observe Competitors today, because they will change the economy in the future. Things are changing really fast. It is a technological revolution.”

Ricardo Vivian, Graphic Design, Brazil.

“WorldSkills makes you go after things that interest you. Without this competition, I would not be where I am today”.

Katie Wright, Beauty Therapy, United Kingdom.

“When I started studying, I did not know what to do. When I discovered WorldSkills, I decided to take a chance and become interested in something. These are very diverse fields.”

Muhammad Sufyan Zainalabidin, Mechanical Engineer, Singapore.

“Internet is promoting deep changes. In 2025 we will be much more connected and collaborative.”

Jim Carroll, innovation and future trends expert.

Robotics festival combines fun and learning during WorldSkills São Paulo 2015

The partnership between LEGO Education, is part of LEGO Toys and focusses on education; Industry Social Service (SESI); and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, have organized the SESI Robotics Festival and First LEGO League (FLL) at WorldSkills São Paulo 2015. The festival is located at Anhembi Park, and is geared towards children between nine and sixteen years old who study robotics or technological education.

The SESI FLL Robotics Festival gathers over 500 students from public and private schools in São Paulo. They present their research projects and perform missions with robots involving collecting, managing, and reusing waste. The robots used in the festival are assembled, tested, and programmed by students using LEGO kits.

The festival has a test arena, approximately 400 seats, meeting and show rooms, and 16 pits for students to train and programme their robots.

Anyone passing by may notice that it is fun opportunity with interaction and entertainment possibilities for visitors. The SESI Master of Ceremonies and Life-Quality Coordinator, Matheus Oliveira, keeps Competitors and visitors excited with everything going on.

There are 32 SESI-SP schools participating in the festival. Sixteen schools participate each day, and four aspects are evaluated: robot design, research projects, tests, and values (team work, relationship between team members and with other teams, and behaviour). There are 19 judges all together; seven evaluate the robots’ performance and the strategy developed by the team, and twelve evaluate the teams’ values, research, and robots’ design.

This festival’s main goal is to give children the opportunity to learn in a fun, playful way while interacting with students from other schools. According to the Technology Education teacher at Colégio Eduardo Gomes, José Reginaldo Pereira, from São Caetano-SP, this is by far the best way to learn. “We must escape that old classroom paradigm; we need to present the paths available and guide students towards making the right decisions”, he mentioned.

The students participating in the festival worked hard to complete the tasks – and their relatives watching were proud of them. Gustavo Cortona, a student from Escola Bosque de São Paulo, is expecting his grandparents, Renato and Mirian Cortona in the audience. They are thrilled by their grandson’s efforts and accomplishments: “we are extremely proud of having a grandson participating in such an important festival within the greatest vocational education and skills excellence Competition in the world”, said his grandfather.

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