A busy production line, but where are the people? Automation gets rid of boring and dangerous jobs, but can lead to unemployment.
Change Think of jobs that have disappeared, or are disappearing (mining, factory jobs, heavy lifting). What jobs have been created ("people" jobs in the service, selling, care and entertainment industries; computing and new technology; "portfolio" working, ie stitching together part-time jobs)? Is the end result of these changes better or worse? What happens when people lose their jobs? What help might they need (retraining, food, rent, moral support)? Who can give it?
Employment (1) What would be your ideal job? (2) What job do you think you will actually do? Compare "ideal" and "actual" jobs. How can the class's responses be categorised? Manufacturing, sales, services, enter-tainment, construction, office work, technology, care? Working with people or machines? Out-doors, indoors? Are there patterns?
Boys and girls Traditional "heavy" jobs disappear and "people" jobs replace them, so employers want good communication and personal skills. However, 65 per cent of girls get a high grade GCSE in English, but only 43 per cent of boys. Discuss the future for boys and girls.
Writing Pretend you have an identical twin. Write two parallel life stories, where one does well in employment and the other does badly. Explain why.
Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University.