Why We Need a Physical Centre for the Future of Work


  • Picture of Jane Barrett FRSA
    Jane Barrett FRSA
    I'm all about helping people get into the right careers for them
  • Picture of Alison Edmonds FRSA
    Alison Edmonds FRSA
    Enabling all ages to achieve a fulfilling career that takes us towards a sustainable world
  • Future of Work
  • Employment
  • Fellowship

Jane Barrett is the co-author of ‘Taking Charge of Your Career’, a guest lecturer on career development at UK and European Business Schools and co-founder of The Career Farm. Alison Edmonds, founder of Epic Steps CIC and co-founder of Epic Steps Careers+, is also the co-author of “Thinking outside the Box – Children can Contribute to the SDGs”.

Many of you reading this article will have reinvented your careers at least once, something previous generations were less likely to have to do.  Meanwhile, the working world our children will encounter is changing even more drastically.  As you may know, The RSA is playing a leading role in researching how rapid technological change will affect our work in the future. 

Despite the positive progress made by the Careers And Enterprise Company to improve careers advice in schools, their State of the Nation Report  reports that ‘we have a long way to go’. Only 21 of schools and colleges in the UK are meeting all 8 Gatsby benchmarks, which define best practice career guidance in UK schools. 18% of schools and colleges in the UK are failing to meet any at all. There are particular challenges around skills gaps, diversity and a workforce needing to work longer to create a more equal and cohesive society.

We want to build a Physical Centre for The Future of Work initially in the North of England. The Centre will offer a permanent, interactive experience for children and adults alike around the psychology of how to choose a career. It will provide an opportunity to ‘try’ and ‘test’ different careers in growing sectors using technology such as live streaming and virtual reality. Children will have the opportunity to explore and share ideas together, learn more about global innovation and learn how their unique skills, values and interests can be applied in the world of work. The UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) will be at the heart of the opportunities showcased by the Future of Work. 

The final step in the experience will be training on how to ‘get’ the work you want by using mock interviews, assessment centres, CV guidance and instruction about using social media for job search training, all prioritised using the SDG framework. 

The Centre will be complimented by running live streaming interviews of different jobs and careers allowing remote populations to be involved – improving diversity and inclusion. It’s an ambitious strategy to help people find engaging work that contributes to the wider needs of society.

The project has piloted the first live streaming with a £500 grant from the RSA North, we have delivered our first live steam on ‘Careers in Coding’. The feedback from the 5 schools involved was excellent. 

The speakers were all excellent and very open and informative– but I think what made the webinar so successful for our students was that the panel responded to directed questions from a Careers professional who understands what will be specifically relevant to young people. The interactivity of the webinar worked really well and students were delighted when a question they had asked via the chat facility, was picked up by the interviewer and directed to one or all of the experts.

- Marian Farrah, Business Liaison Manager, St Aidans C of E High School.

The RSA Fellows network has been instrumental in shaping these ideas and we continue to welcome more members interested in being part of this project. 

We want our work to be free to schools, students and parents so there are as few barriers as possible, while asking for payment from other members of the community who can afford it. To help us realize this ambitious, visionary and sustainable Future of Work Centre, we welcome connections with people and organisations ready to support societal impact. 

For more information, please feel free to sign up to our newsletter or if you would like to play a part, contact Jane Barrett on [email protected] or Alison Edmonds on [email protected] and join us to bring a fresh and sustainable perspective to careers to the UK.

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