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Liverpool Gears up for the Future of Work



Part of the Summer 2019 season

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A range of projects, events and trials will start to tackle the big question around what work will look like for the people of the city in coming years - reacting to estimates which show 50% of the current jobs in Liverpool will no longer exist within the next 20 years.

As part of the Liverpool 2018 programme, The Future World of Work has four separate elements:

Artistic Exploration – Led by FACT, eight international artists are being commissioned to engage with workers and businesses across a number of sectors to explore the future of work on society through an artistic lens.

Business– The 2018 International Business Festival – which opens today – will have dedicated sessions everyday throughout its three weeks with key thought leaders including shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, ARM Holdings CEO Simon Segars and Paul Behan head of IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence division all looking at the Future World of Work and what it means for businesses, locally and globally.

Training – Liverpool City Council and Liverpool City region will begin working together to explore new approaches to training and skills which will create a workforce ready for the future.

Education– A new exploratory Education Consortium, led by Liverpool John Moores University and chaired by Phil Redmond, will bring together higher, further and secondary education to begin looking at the journey of people of all ages in education being more responsive to the requirements of the job market. This approach is being trialled as part of Liverpool’s bid to be the new home for Channel 4.

The details on the artistic commissions as part of The Future World of Work will be announced in the near future, and the full list of speakers as part of the sessions at IFB can be found here

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The world of work is changing at the fastest rate since the industrial revolution. Some estimates believe that in a decade, 50% of the current jobs in Liverpool will no longer exist. Schools are worried the curriculum is producing children without the skills to survive in the future jobs market and businesses are rushing to keep up.

“But it can’t be all doom and gloom. Technology has created industries we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago, and the city has some of the fastest growing businesses around.

“Today’s announcement is about a long term progressive commitment to think differently about the Future World of Work, and also about getting the public to start thinking about what it might mean for them.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Nobody knows exactly what the coming years hold for us in terms of the way technology will change industries and worker’s day-to-day lives. But what we do know is that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is around the corner, and we can’t ignore it.

“I am very excited that as a city region we are taking the lead in exploring what it might mean for our residents, and proud that we are hosting some of the best thinkers and business people in the world on this subject over the coming weeks at the International Business Festival – the biggest of its kind in the UK.

FACT Director Mike Stubbs said: “The Future World of Work provides a timely, and much awaited inquiry into the changing face of working life in a hyper-connected economy with challenges including gig-work, gender representation, and social care work to name a few.

“We cannot underestimate this moment in time, but whilst the newspapers are saturated with doom-laden stories of automation, this artistic programme will cut through the science-fiction, to understand what the coming workplace revolution means for us all.

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings, who is hosting the fifth UNIGlobal Union World Congress in Liverpool which begins this week added: “Big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, and global connectivity are the new frontiers for the labour movement. Liverpool is where global union leaders will set new benchmarks for the digital world of work. Liverpool was at the centre of the industrial revolution where workers fought to establish fair labour standards and we hope will do so again in this new digital age.

“We say no return to the casualization practices of the 19th century and demand a digital inclusive workplace where no-one is left behind.

Later in the year, a ‘Future World of Work’ website will be launched which will bring together all of the content from across the season as well as providing links to support people who are in finding out more about what the future of work will mean for them personally.

Find out more about FACT's The Future World of Work programme here.

Image: Still from 75 Watt by Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen from Time and Motion: Redefining Working Life (FACT, 2013/14)