Are you a recent graduate looking for work, and struggling with the traditional methods of applying? Are you supporting a recent graduate who is looking for work? Are you feeling as though the pace of change has just got away on you, and you don’t have enough specific knowledge/experience? This interview, on Radio NZ National’s Saturday programme, that I caught, may help steer your thinking towards some positive and creative solutions. Kim Hill is talking in this interview to Gary Bolles, son of Richard Bolles, writer of the now ubiquitous What Color is Your Parachute.  Father and son have collaborated to take that very successful publication digital with eparachute. Gary Bolles, over here as a guest of Callaghan Innovation, has some interesting things to say about ways to deal with disruptive change, particularly in terms of how we use technology, understanding our skills, and the ways we work.  What are the challenges and the good news, especially for this ‘generation’ of recent graduates.

Interesting points that struck me were:

  • A reminder that skills are divided into ‘what we know’, ‘what we can do’ and ‘how we do it’.
  • The world of work, as our parents understood it has gone. Technology allows us to be smarter faster and learn to do a broader range of things. This stuff is said a lot, but in terms of change “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet” , and younger people are coming up with innovative adaptive strategies to meet this change head-on. So the ‘how’ is becoming increasingly important.
  • There is a perception that young people know ‘a lot about not much’, and learning how to look things up does not equate to deep subject knowledge.  The good news here is, as graduates you have developed the capacity to learn deeply in one area but also have interests and develop skills across a very broad range of interests.  Imagine a capital ‘T’. This is how your skills and knowledge are shaped.

Another piece of good news is that, while there are challenges from the casualisation of labour and living wages, you have those old chestnuts we keep talking about: transferable skills, the capacity to learn, solve problems creatively and relate to others.  These are more likely to be resistant to the phenomenon of ‘wage compression’. So what you have ‘learned deeply’ over your time here, your ability to learn how to learn and your adaptability and survival skills while studying: they count!

But don’t just take my word for it…if you have a spare 28 minutes and 55 seconds, have a listen.



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