Tristram Hunt tell students in Leeds why they should consider his sector

9 March 2018

This article is a part of our Skills Young People Need for Work in 2030 campaign, with the i newspaper, helping share what skills leaders of today think are going to be the top ways young people can prepare for the careers of tomorrow. Be sure to follow #Skills2030 to see their top advice over March.


Tristram Hunt has told school pupils the best way to future-proof their careers against the march of the robots is to look for ways of developing their creativity. The director of the Victoria and Albert Museum said there has “never been a better moment” for students to think about art and design as they prepare for the world of work.

Mr Hunt, a historian, journalist and former shadow education secretary, was visiting the 1,100-pupil Sheffield Park Academy, in Sheffield, as part of the Skills 2030 campaign by the charity Speakers for Schools. i has launched a partnership with the charity, which was founded in 2011 by the ITV political editor Robert Peston, which is aimed at giving state secondary school pupils access to influential people who were once the preserve of the public school old boys’ network.

Mr Hunt said: “One of the reasons I’m here is to say to you, as you begin to think about your future careers, is that there hasn’t been a better moment to think about art, design and creativity.”

He said the museum, which was founded by Prince Albert in 1852, was created as a place to inspire the “innovators, designers and creators of the future”. After outlining the museum’s galleries and exhibitions, and the specialist skills of its curators and other staff, he described plans to offer support to art and design students and teachers in Sheffield as part of the museum’s DesignLab Nation project. Mr Hunt said creative subjects were being squeezed due to budget pressures and the way schools are judged in league tables and “not enough credit or value” was being given to creativity in the curriculum.

He said: “One of the reasons we’re going to be working in Sheffield in the coming years is to ensure we give teachers and school leavers the support they need if they want to do art and design – to show we’ve got their back. I think students are under pressure on this, but if they want to make a change, they’ve got to voice it to their school leaders.

Sometimes in the past, it has been thought that these creative subjects are soft subjects and are not going to give you the right level of insight, but the skills that design gives you in the modern world are really strong. More and more companies and entrepreneurs are interested in design skills. Sheffield is a city of makers, a city with an incredible heritage of making. With the two universities, with high-tech businesses springing up here, there is an incredible amount of creativity, innovation and design jobs happening here right now.

The robots are coming and they’re coming to steal your jobs. We’re going to have this massive wave of automation in the coming years and if your a kind of middling accountant, a robot’s going to eat your job, no question. The robots have the work ethic, but what they don’t have is human ingenuity and creativity.

As you think about your futures, the best way to immunise yourself against the robots is to nail your maths and English and all the things you have to do, but also you’ve got to think about creativity, design and innovation. They are the best way of ensuring that in 10 years you are going to build a career and a life that isn’t going to be subjected to some of the scary stuff coming down the line from the rise of the robots.”


See the original article here on the i newspaper.

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Our Skills 2030 campaign will continue with more speakers across the UK. Keep up with the coverage of this talk series here.

Photo of Rt Hon Tristram Hunt MP courtesy of i newspaper, taken by Jon Super