Emerging technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence will transform the workplace, with many existing roles displaced and many other new roles created over the coming decades.
In fact, an estimated 65% of children in primary school today will end up in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.
As a result, it’s essential for governments to start preparing for the disruption that these new technologies will bring.
In Wales, a new report says that the Welsh Government needs to identify and invest in areas where the country already has a competitive advantage — for instance, in compound semiconductors, insurance and healthcare — and support these sectors to be at the forefront of global industry.
“It is an opportunity but only if we stay with it and invest,” Professor Johann Sienz from Swansea University told ITV News. “Even in countries like Germany, less than 10% of its investment goes into Industry 4.0 — the industries of future like robotics and automation with data. So we have an opportunity to specialise in what we are good at and Wales can be a world leader really quickly.”
The report from the Welsh National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee also recommends equipping children and young people with the skills they need to thrive in a digital world, as well as putting more emphasis on lifelong learning. In particular, the report calls for new and accessible ways for workers at risk of displacement by automation to retrain and upskill.
“It is vital Wales is ready not merely to respond, but able to shape the debate, so that rather than being blown away by strong winds of change, we can harness them to propel our sails,” said Russell George AM, chair of the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee.