Monday, March 21, 2016

Why we work

Recent 'discussion papers' and various fora in NZ have been discussing the 'future of work'. Left and Central left viewpoints via the Labour Party and the Tertiary Education Union, provide access to the Productivity Commission's investigation on the role of tertiary education in NZ, published late last year.

As per reports in other countries, e.g. this one from knowledge works, the world of work is now one of continual change. Workers of today will expect to shift jobs and careers several times during their life times.

This TedTalk by Barry Schwartz  asks the question 'why do we work'? and the reasons for the importance of 'rethinking work'. Work is not just to earn a wage, for many, it is also a source of fulfilment. Workers often 'go that extra mile' not because there will be a financial reward, but to make their work more fulfilling and to meet individual's intrinsic motivation. Companies who put emphasis on nurturing their human resource, obtain returns in outputs.

Slightly longer version of Schwartz's work is in the book, with overview at brainpickings.

In NZ, the Productivity review 'issues' section is now open for submissions. An 'issues paper' detailing the context / background and various possible 'models' for tertiary education in NZ. Tertiary education providers in NZ include universities, polytechnics (ITPs), Wananga (Maori tertiary), provider providers and adult and community ed. (ACE). Provision for this large sector has always been a challenge. In short, the government is seeking better return on investment for the $$ put into the system. There is also the mandate to improve outcomes for all NZers regardless of ethnicity and social capital. Some of the 'models' put forward as examples in Chapter 5 (new models) make for interesting reading and critique. Chapter 6, proposing a range of 'questions' for submission, poses a range of interesting options. As with large shifts in public funded education in the past, NZ does not shy away from asking the hard questions. How things eventually workout, will impact on the future career prospects of a generation of NZers. Therefore, important for all in the sector to respond, bearing in mind the global / international changes bearing down on the world of work. How do we assist our students to meet the challenges of the future of work?

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