Round Table: Are We Qualified for the Future?

CognitionX-er, Jenny Burton, attended a thought-provoking round table run in partnership by Jericho Chambers and the ACCA. Surrounded by an impressive array of contributors from academia, corporations and professional bodies, the aim of the discussion was to understand the future of qualifications and whether we are adapting quick enough to the pace of change in the working world.

While professional services are still a key element to business, the changing attitudes of the younger generations as well as the rise of automation and artificial intelligence are leading to an evolution in the world of work. The discussion aimed to understand whether the current qualifications available are still relevant and whether education in general is keeping up with the change in the workplace.


Some key issues were raised by the group around the dry nature of professional qualifications. Whilst regulation and risk are important, students are dissatisfied with their training because it simply isn’t interesting. Shorter attention spans and access to information has made young people feel they are entrepreneurial and innovative, but do they actually understand the courage and commercial acumen required to set up a business?

One member of the group raised the idea that our current schooling is teaching young people to be digital consumers, not digital creators. The feeling amongst teachers is that coding must be on the curriculum, while the suggestion at the table was that we need to focus on teaching creativity within technology. Therefore, we need our qualifications to mirror these skills that we want ambitious and technologically-minded employees to have.

“our current schooling is teaching young people to be digital consumers, not digital creators”


The round table ended with a round up of recommendations for the ACCA to consider in their future strategy. The table concluded that qualification organisations, while maintaining their strong relationships with regulatory bodies, must listen to workers and the workplace. There are a number of challenges that the Professions will face in the coming years, and if the qualifications don’t keep up, they will find themselves struggling for air in the dust cloud left behind by the tech startups.

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