New World, New Skills
As our working environment becomes increasingly automated, as the globalised knowledge economy evolves, many of the more technical skills previously required by entry-level graduate staff, even mid-level executives, will become redundant. At the most these skills, be they legal, financial, IT, social media, or even STEM, will only be a part of what you and your organisation, large, medium, small or micro, will need those staff to contribute. And in any case those workplace skills and techniques will need to be constantly refreshed by on-the-job training, irrespective of what your graduates may have acquired in their more vocational and skills-based degrees. The new world of work will need innovators – people who can think outside and across the technical silos.
Young Leaders of Tomorrow
What we will need, as you probably know already, is people who can really use language. Who can be subtle, articulate, in the best sense critical (“criticism” literally means “judgement”): who can find the angle or niche you need in order to be competitive, distinctive, persuasive. Yes, in many jobs and careers numeracy and technical language are essential. But as employees move up in the organization the talents you look for will more and more involve strategic or big-picture thinking, analytic and presentational ability, the capacity rapidly to absorb large amounts of material and communicate clearly and sensibly what they have absorbed. The sheer speed of modern peer-to-peer connectivity makes it all the more important to develop the grounded common sense and strategic awareness underwriting your big decisions. And nearly always this will happen in language. In the public service, in business of all kinds, in the new services industries perhaps most of all, human intelligence must always underpin or mediate artificial intelligence: the more reliant we become on AI, the more we need ordinary human language to make sense of our strategies, to make sound judgements. We need “humanists” – young people for whom meaning and value are part of the world of work as well as part of their lives.
Ramsay graduates are taught in our partner universities to think in precisely these ways. Not taught merely a particular “skill set”, but led over the course of their degree to absorb and analyse complex texts and then write and argue clearly and persuasively about them, in small groups of peers with a single professor leading them. This is the ideal liberal arts experience as it was always meant to be – but too seldom has been. We aim to create tomorrow’s leaders, and we believe this is the kind of training they need.
Our graduates will have something else: a sense of perspective emerging from complexity. When they have been thinking for some time about 2500 years of Western civilisation, about writers and thinkers and artists from Homer to Leonardo to George Eliot to George Orwell, about freedom and justice and truth and beauty, about difficult and complex texts and ideas, they will know how to derive the long view from the mass of data. They will have some wisdom, some maturity. Useful assets, wouldn’t you say?