Over the next decade, the way we do our jobs will change dramatically, writes Gary Tippett of the University of Melbourne.
The impact of new and emerging technologies, shifting economics, even environmental pressures mean most professions are in a continual state of change – with many struggling to keep up with the pace of transformation.
And for many people working across most industries – and those in the future – they must be ready and willing to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest information and training in a fast-changing environment.
For example, genome sequencing and precision therapies are on the way to making cancer a manageable condition rather than a lethal one. But it also means today’s practicing nurses will need to become quickly competent in tomorrow’s advances.
We spoke to five professionals across five industries about how their jobs are changing and what the next generation needs to do to prepare, adapt and thrive.
One third of our planet’s land is used for agriculture. It’s a lot, but bear in mind that 50 per cent of Earth’s landmass – desert, tundra, mountains and glaciers – is unusable. And our need for what agriculture provides doesn’t stop with land.
More than two thirds of the world’s freshwater is committed to agriculture and farming. And despite all of this, up to half of the global harvest is lost to insects or spoilage.
“These pressures, all taken together, intensify the drive to put the most intelligent minds into agricultural careers.”
The head of the University of Melbourne’s School of BioSciences, Professor Herbert Kronzucker, has worked on issues of world hunger since his post-doctorate, concentrating on rice as well as some of the most important crops that feed the world’s poor.
“The reason modern science needs to be brought to bear on this is because it would not be possible to feed the planet’s population of 7.5 billion with outdated farming methods,” he says.
Brendan Torpey is an example of those “most intelligent minds” Professor Kronzucker is talking about. Growing up on a potato and prime lamb farm at Newlyn, near Ballarat in Victoria, he holds a Bachelor of Agriculture from the University of Melbourne as well as a Graduate Certificate in Precision Agriculture from the University of New England.
He is now a lead adviser for the agricultural consulting firm Precision Agriculture and advises farmers, among other things, on grid soil mapping.
This is a process that allows farmers to generate digital maps identifying soil fertility and yield limiting factors which can inform the decision about where and when to plant.
“Agriculture is changing ever more rapidly and there are so many pressure points coming on to a business that you have to be adaptive,” says Mr Torpey.
“The most successful operators out there are those who are challenging the norm, trying new things and approaches and testing new ideas.”
An engineer engineer checking growth chart for organic lettuce crop in LED greenhouse. Picture: Getty Images
The jobs of 2027 (Pursuit/University of Melbourne)
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