Creativity: The Most Critical Skill for Future Jobs?

By Samantha Wingate, Director of Admissions

What do we really mean when we talk about "helping students build skills for their future careers?"

For many parents, the answer has been relatively straightforward: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.) In recent years, educators and parents alike have placed high pressure on students to master STEM skills, with more and more students each year funnelling into increasingly competitive technical and engineering courses.

But as valuable as this highly sought-after technical education may be, it may just be missing what many business leaders are now calling an extremely valuable skill for tomorrow’s employees to bring to the table: creativity.

With the rise of automation making more and more purely technical jobs disappear, creativity - and the ability to think around roadblocks and imagine new solutions to existing problems - will likely command a premium in the job market of the future.

This search for creative, inventive thinkers poses a challenge to educators and parents alike: how (and why) do we effectively foster creativity in young students just starting on their educational journey?

Tomorrow's Leaders Will Need To Know How To "Think Outside The Box"

According to many economic analysts, automation may rapidly become one the prime drivers of unemployment in the decades ahead, especially affecting those jobs most strongly connected to technical education. According to a report released by the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting in January, nearly 1 million Americans will likely lose their jobs due to automation by 2026, and may be unable to find similar-paying jobs in tomorrow’s labor market.

What will make tomorrow’s employees invaluable to their businesses, however, may be the very element that machines and automation simply cannot replace: sheer human creativity and inventive thinking.

Already, several major business leaders have expressed their desire/need to seek out team members who have not only the knowledge needed to push boundaries, but also the critical thinking skills to challenge assumptions, break from tradition, and discover new and inventive solutions to difficult problems.

It is these kinds of soft skills that will help drive the future of innovation, and they are skills which seem unique to human beings. For students today, taking time to develop these thinking and creative skills may likely end up being the best investment they make in their future careers.

Personal and Professional Benefits to Creative Thinking

The old saying goes that if you "give a man to fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

The value of developing creative thinking skills tells a similar story. By teaching students not just solutions to problems, but how to reach those solutions on their own, we better prepare tomorrow’s workers to meet and overcome challenges we may not even be able to imagine.

According to Northeastern University, the success of major industry-changers like Apple can be traced back directly to the value that company places on creativity. A significant portion of companies are thinking ahead to the kind of challenges they may face in the future, and they’re looking for innovative and creative thinkers who can take on new problems with new, inventive solutions.

In addition, taking time to develop and pursue creative skills can also have deep personal benefits for students as well. According to some research, creative thinking can help students and individuals more easily connect to the cultures and people around them, which can help inspire better moods, a more positive outlook, and healthier interpersonal relationships. Creativity and empathy can be deeply intertwined, and creative thinking can inspire a fuller appreciation for life itself.

Nurturing Creative Skills At A Young Age

Teaching students the value of creativity can truly never begin too early, or continue for too long. Far from setting students back, creative thinking exercises can be the factor helping students to break through and distinguish themselves among their peers, all while helping to foster cultural communication and improve self confidence.

Educators can employ a wide variety of activities and challenges to help students develop their creative thinking skills. Whether it’s posing open-ended questions for students to work out and answer for themselves or providing challenges that draw on STEM education to find unique solutions, providing students with the opportunity can help young learners develop new ways of looking at and solving real-world problems.

At World Academy, we focus on providing a “Whole Child” education that encourages growth in all facets of the child’s being, including cognitive/intellectual, physical, social-emotional, cultural, and creative aspects. By encouraging students to explore new topics using creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking, we help to better prepare our students for the challenges they’ll face both in school and in their career paths later on.

A creative thinker is a unique thinker, and that’s one skill that automation simply cannot replace. Are your students flexing their creative muscle enough to meet the challenge? Ours are!

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World Academy is a state licensed, independent, developmentally-appropriate and academically rigorous private school for children from ages Six weeks through Grade 8. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, it offers high quality Early Childhood Programs, Elementary and Middle School, Before and Afterschool Programs, and SummerQuest Camp. For almost 40 years the school has been dedicated to providing all students with a high-quality, 21st-century, diverse, "whole child" focused education that supports families and engages all facets of a child’s being, including cognitive/intellectual, physical, social-emotional, cultural and creative aspects.

Located at 138 Spit Brook Road in Nashua, the state-of- the-art 55,000 square-foot campus features specialized wings for Nursery, Preschool, Elementary and Middle School students; three age-appropriate playgrounds; a natural playground; two in-ground swimming pools; a Gymnasium/Theater complex with a rock climbing wall; nature trails; a soccer field; an accelerated Math Program; immersive World Languages programs; Lego Robotics built into the curriculum for K-8; and much more.

Students from World Academy have consistently been accepted into their first choice schools including Groton School, Middlesex School, Lawrence Academy, Bishop Guertin High School, Central Catholic High School, Berwick Academy, The Derryfield School, and The Pike School, to name a few.

For more information, contact Samantha Wingate, Director of Admissions at 603-888-1982.