Opinion: Shaping the fourth Industrial Revolution

PUBLISHED: 08:30 27 April 2019

Martin Longstaff, director of Research and Enterprise, UEL discusses the fourth Industrial Revolution.

Martin Longstaff, director of Research and Enterprise, UEL discusses the fourth Industrial Revolution.


Since 1892, the University of East London has been pioneering futures: from the rapid manufacturing changes of the second Industrial Revolution to the technological discoveries of the third to where we are now in the fourth – a period of constantly-evolving digital, physical and creative advances which are changing the modern workforce.

The University of East London prides itself on being a leader of innovation and enterprise. We are committed to working with our partners to find ways to strengthen and diversify the talent pipeline that flows into Newham, east London and the world beyond.

On April 24, the University, working with Microsoft and APB, will bring together students, academics, employers, local education providers and community partners for an employment “hackathon” at the Royal Albert Dock.

Working in small groups, our stakeholders will co-design solutions which address key issues around employability and career pathways. There will be representatives from 25 businesses from Newham and Tower Hamlets, alongside global corporations and businesses based at the Knowledge Dock Business Centre on UEL's Docklands Campus. We will be asking big questions and seeking big answers. We want to know how Newham and east London can work together to bridge skills gaps, meet employers' needs and increase workforce diversity.

It is predicted that 40 per cent of jobs could be lost to automation over the next 20 years, but evidence also shows that there will always be a need for uniquely human skills such as curiosity, creativity and empathy. We also know that diversity in the workforce can drive innovation and performance. Working together, we can ensure that east London is known as the place for future thinking. This is how we will thrive in the fourth Industrial Revolution and beyond.

As our vice-chancellor and president, Professor Amanda Broderick, says, “As a careers-first university, we will encourage the happy marriage of technological and human skills within a diverse workforce to help both businesses and their talent ready themselves for the opportunities of Economy 4.0.”

The most promising ideas from the hackathon will be developed and presented at the Royal Docks Education and Enterprise Festival on June 12 at the University's Docklands Campus. We invite you to join us there.

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