Peter Cheese is the Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). He is recognised as a consultant, speaker and writer in the field of human capital and organisation, and has worked with many organisations, practitioners and thought leaders in this field.


In 2021 he published a new book -The New World of Work: Shaping a Future that Helps People, Organizations and Our Societies to Thrive (


In November 2021 Engage for Success - A Movement inspiring people and workplaces to thrive, that we are involved with, hosted a webinar where Peter spoke about his new book.

Amongst many other interesting discussions, in the Q&A, we were lucky for Peter to answer the question we posed:


How do you think education needs to change, in terms of ensuring and equipping young people so that they can enter this new world of work?

You can click on the picture to watch the webinar or alternative read his answer to this question below.



How do you think education needs to change, in terms of ensuring and equipping young people so that they can enter this new world of work?

“I think the reality is we have to think about ways in which our education has got to change and adapt. Jobs themselves and the skills we need within those jobs are changing at a faster rate than we have probably ever seen.

How technology changes those jobs will be interesting. From an educational perspective, education is not just about building job skills. It's not just about employment. Of course, that should be, and I think, in some regards a stronger understanding of the outcome of education as employment, but education is about teaching us to learn.  It's helping us to be curious, it's helping us to embark on a lifelong journey of learning. And those are the things that I think should be inculcated often more in young people.

What worries me about education in this changing world is it's been very driven by the idea of qualification, a way to assess the outcome of education, the traditional way to assess is a qualification. Now, in England, in the qualification system that we have, there are over 100,000 different types of qualification which is staggering. We have a massively complicated qualification system that links to education.

What that tends to speak to therefore there's a lot of specialisation in education. And indeed you can see it from aged whatever you know, 12, 13 you start to and think about GCSE's and then 14-15 you start to have to think about your A levels and often young people have been told oh, you need to figure out your A levels that's gonna determine your future, but honestly if we're talking about a future, there's not just the shift from a job like the life of jobs, it's going to be a life of careers, not just jobs, then surely what we've got to be building in young people is a solid foundation on which they can then build the job skills that are needed in the future and not obsessed so much about all these specialised qualifications.

And I genuinely think in the UK incidentally is, you know, when you look at OECD stats and others, is not particularly good when you look at the narrow specialisation we tend to create in our educational systems in this country versus much more vocational education that exists in countries like Germany and so forth. And broader educational systems that existed the IB and so forth so. So that's one of the key points.

But I think one of the most fundamental outcomes of education we haven't understood enough, is the core skills that it gives us all. And we've done a lot of work at the CIPD into something I've been very passionate about for a long time.

What are the foundational skills that we all need? And can we create a common language around them because you can talk about those employability skills as we often have, and they are very human skills, which is also interesting when you think about in the context of technology. So it is things like critical thinking, which is why I made that brief data call  on Slack discussion about that, sometimes social media is constraining our ability to think critically. So it's critical thinking, it's teamworking, its communication skills. Its basic analytical skills,  numeracy and skills like that. We now talk about digital skills as being fundamental as well. So whatever we do with education, we need to make sure we're emphasising those skills a lot more.

These are the things that we need more focus on in the educational system. So whilst I wouldn't pretend that I or anybody else would change the whole educational system, and I'm not sure it all needs changing, I would say let's focus on those foundational skills,  lets emphasise them much more and then emphasise to everybody that's going through education, it is a lifelong journey, then we continue to need to be curious, to keep learning, to find the different ways to learn, and indeed look to our organisations and our leaders to help us to learn to navigate this future world of work and to navigate our careers. Which as I've said, will change a lot in the future. And that can be very exciting if we can manage it effectively. So it's a big question.”