The High-Impact Talent Roundtable

August 26th 8am to 1230pm, Mount Royal University

Calgary having fewer post-secondary students could leave Calgary with a structural talent deficit in 5–10 years.

— Calgary Economic Development

Alberta, like much of the world, is facing an unprecedented pace of change, driven by technology, demographic shifts and globalization. Boundaries between traditional disciplines, sectors and skills are blurring, resulting in 66% of Canadian employers reporting difficulty in filling entry-level positions and 40% cannot find candidates with the required set of soft skills. This skills gap has a significant impact on both an organization’s competitiveness and an individual’s ability to pursue their personal and professional goals. This is the high-impact talent challenge.

High-Impact Talent is not defined by a simple check-list of skills. Rather, high-impact talent is driven by the unique labour market dynamics of a region, sector or organization, and is anchored in an individual’s capacity to effectively adapt and thrive in perpetually turbulent market conditions. These dynamic capabilities enable people to identify emerging opportunities and reconfigure or acquire new skills to thrive. People with dynamic capabilities are future-ready. They lead trends, they don’t follow. Click HERE to read more high-impact talent and dynamic capabilities. While the entire education system must ensure that we are developing future-ready students, universities have a unique role in supporting a graduate’s professional transition

Collaborating to Close the High-Impact Talent Gap

Dynamic capabilities enable people to identify emerging opportunities and reconfigure their skills or acquire new skills to thrive. People with dynamic capabilities are future-ready.

To confront this challenge, Mount Royal University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is leading a research program exploring our dynamic labour market and how this impacts the development of adaptable high-impact talent. To support this, the Institute and MRU Career Services has developed a free open-access Designing YOU series, including 12 books and 14 podcasts, to support young adults in planning their personal and professional development.

As part of this initiative, you are invited to attend the High-Impact Talent Roundtable where we will explore how new and innovative approaches to work-integrated learning could contribute to developing talent that will thrive today and in the future. Questions we will explore include:

  1. What are the knowledge and skills that innovative employers require today and in the future?

  2. What is the gap between employers’ emerging needs and the knowledge and skills graduates possess?

  3. What role can work-integrated learning play in ensuring graduates are future ready?

  4. What are global best practices in work-integrated learning today?

Who Should Attend?

Because the challenge of developing high-impact talent is systemic, many of the solutions will require collaboration across the high-impact talent ecosystem. Therefore, the Roundtable will include employers, post-secondary educators, policymakers and students in higher education. The meeting will be a hands-on working session. All participants will roll up their sleeves, collaborate and contribute their expertise to the challenge of developing high-impact talent.

The Program

The Roundtable program will be interactive and focus on thought-provoking panels and small group discussions. As part of our discussions we will explore four radical proposals included in Stanford 2025 - An exploration of undergraduate experiences in the future. These include: (a) Open Loop University; (b) Paced Education; (c) Axis Flip; (d) Purpose Learning and how they could contribute to developing high-impact talent.

Panel 1: The Future is Agile. Should it be for Higher Education?

Educators, employers and policymakers are advocating for more agile and responsive learning formats in universities. At its core, this challenges the future of a traditional university degree format. In its place, many believe that agile and adaptable talent development should be rooted in a portfolio of diverse learning and experiences, including work-integrated learning and micro-credentials. So, what is the future role of a university and a traditional university degree in this new learning model? For additional information click HERE.

 Panel 2: Can Work-Integrated Learning Develop Soft Skills?

Research suggests that employers are increasingly prioritizing foundational soft skills, including communications, organizational, critical thinking and interpersonal skills over task or discipline specific skills and knowledge. This panel will explore the opportunities and challenges that work-integrated learning may offer to systematically develop and track these essential skills during a student’s post-secondary education. For additional information click HERE.

Click HERE for the full agenda.

What is the Anticipated Outcome?

The outcome of the Roundtable will be a series of prioritized questions. Some of these questions may be big, with long-term implications demanding increased collaboration; while others may be small enough to be actioned by participants in a classroom or workplace. Mount Royal University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will act as a conduit, facilitating partnerships among individuals and organizations to develop evidence-based and actionable intelligence. Armed with these insights, leaders in industry and universities can confidently move forward with implementing coordinated programs and policies that will have a significant impact on the high-impact talent challenge.

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