On Wednesday 5th December Lord Triesman of Tottenham, former Labour government minister, visited Stoke College, to speak to the students about the future world of work.

Lord Triesman was formerly the chair of the Football Association and a minister in both the Foreign Office and the Department for Innovation, Skills and Universities in the Gordon Brown government. He spoke to the senior students of the college about the likely changes in employment opportunities they would face in their working lives.

Both in his talk and in response to a range of well thought out questions, he painted a picture of possibilities and risks well beyond the current uncertain political climate. He told the students of times in the past when industries had been rocked by innovation, leading to massive job losses but also to new employment.

He foresees that the areas of greatest growth in the future will be in the industries which respond to climate change with new products and in artificial intelligence. These would be areas needing highly skilled and educated people who will develop and produce new products and services.

He also expects that if the UK does ‘Brexit’ it will create administrative and technical jobs as the economy adjusts to running independently of Europe.

Charlotte in Year 9 asked whether new jobs would be less stable than in the past and Amanda in Year 13 asked which jobs would die out due to artificial intelligence. He painted a picture of concern that jobs would be less secure and many would disappear. Overall though, he felt the picture was optimistic and said that society had to start grappling with the fact that there would be less traditional work to do.

He believes we should be looking seriously at places where they have experimented with guaranteed minimum incomes to prepare for a new, high technology world. He also pointed to a current trend in the UK where the fastest growing sector for employment, at 7.5% per year, is the creative arts.

The students were hugely engaged by his talk and were disappointed that there was not more time to ask further questions. However, in response to Thomas’s question on who will win the Premiership (Manchester City, of course) he suggested a challenge. If at the beginning of the season the clubs were ranked by their players’ salary bill and at the end of the season by their league position, assess how different the two lists would be. He expected there would be very little difference which is why he thought  Leicester City’s 2016 success was so remarkable.

(For those interested to see the 2017/18 facts, see here: https://www.timesoccer.com/news/premier-league-wage-bills-club-by-club.html )